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Earthen German Black Metal - 71%

TheStormIRide, November 29th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, Independent

Furstere is the debut EP from German trio Asarhaddon, who formed in 2015. The band’s name was taken from an Assyrian emperor who’s claim to fame was helping rebuild Esagila, the temple of Marduk, among other things, but the band doesn’t bring any Eastern influence to their music. The band plays an immersive brand of atmospheric black metal that, while raw around the edges, offers a strikingly mature approach to the style.

Most atmospheric black metal releases take their time to develop, revealing subtle textures and patterns over repeated plays. While there’s a certain depth to the band’s style, Asarhaddon’s blend of abrasive black metal with atmospheric elements makes the sound more urgent, more to the point. The riffs are well executed, flowing smoothly in their trebly glory: sweeping melodic trem riffs wax throughout, stopping only to breathe deep the few moments of post-metal quietude. The vocals are rather standard, reaching for a disparaging brand of desperate, raspy screams, yet it fits nicely with the earthen instrumentation presented. Despite the atmospheric leanings of the music, the guitar tone is quite raw and the pummeling percussion leaves no question that this is a black metal album at heart.

Asarhaddon has crafted a really nice introduction to their sound. Despite running seventeen minutes, Furstere packs more of a punch than most organic black metal albums twice its size. It will be interesting to see how the band translates their sound onto a full length album, as there seems to be a precarious balance between the acerbic black metal and sweeping atmospheric sounds. A promising debut indeed and one that should find fans of the genre more than happy with what’s been put to tape.

Written for The Metal Observer.