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Depressive black metal acts have a habit of popping up in the oddest places around the world. One-man act Aisuragua hails from the Canary Islands, that harbour of miserable year-round blizzard winters where the sun sure don't shine and walking the few metres from the front door to the gate is a major undertaking because first you have to dig out a path through snow that's three metres deep. (NOT!) Yet even in a supposed sunshine tourist paradise there can be found individuals who despair over the general current direction of humanity, why we are so hell-bent on our own destruction and that of Nature through our thinking and behaviour, and what to make of our existence in a universe that is indifferent to our fate, collectively and individually. Questioning the status quo is not reserved for those living in physically inhospitable environments; if anything, living in a tourist playground and seeing people enjoy 4 weeks of relaxation before they return to their normal lives to slave away for the other 48 weeks of the calendar year, just so they can enjoy another 4 weeks of life, and then repeat the cycle, might heighten the need for existential inquiry. How absurd, how meaningless are our lives when we live like that?
After an introductory field recording of US astronaut Neil Armstrong speaking as he walks about on the moon, the album proper kicks off with the second track "The Gates of Individual Enlightenment" which sets a blisteringly fast pace with a layer of thick, raw and jagged vibrato guitar riffing. Banshee screaming vocals can be heard faintly in the distant background. The only problem I find here is the thin and tinny drumming which isn't all that fast and weakens the impact of the music; the percussion really needs to be forceful and strong. Major change comes about one-third of the way through with the all-ambient instrumental "Gliese 581 g", an exploration in how to float cold raindrop tones that turn into echoing drones and melody fragments in space.
We return to Earth with "A Crawling Worm in a World of Lies", an instrumental cover version of another band's song: while the guitar melodies are very raw, the programmed drumming again is thin and drains substance out of the music. "Chains of Black Ice" is another song that could benefit from better drumming as this is a very fast track and the guitar riffs are very urgent in the manner of Burzum during his "Filosofem"-period. The outro track is an atmospheric all-synthesiser "2001: A Space Odyssey" wannabe soundtrack piece.
The album is a hodge-podge of music styles fused with raw depressive BM. The common denominator among them may be that Aisuragua is pushing the range of what it normally does. (At the time of this review, I hadn't heard any other Aisuragua recordings so I'm only guessing here.) I appreciate the ambition but not all of its results: the last track sounds stale compared to the rest of the album which is fresh and energetic. The ambient tracks are not all that impressive; they hang about in space but that's really all they do.
Generally the music could do with a much stronger and more substantial percussion rhythm (which might also force the vocals to be more upfront if they're not to be completely lost) that could bring out the raw energy and aggression.