When a band is formed by former members of STEEL ATTACK and especially CARNAL FORGE and IN THY DREAMS (the two gentlemen had been together in all three bands, you would rather expect the new band to be heavier than STEEL ATTACK. Well, Stefan Westerberg (singer in STEEL ATTACK and drummer in the latter bands as well as here) and Petri Kuusisto (keyboardist with STEEL ATTACK and in the rest guitarist) are the two musicians I am talking about and the result of their brains is ASPERITY.
“The Final Demand“ is the title of the Swedes’ debut, now with a completed line-up, of course, and is a lot closer to STEEL ATTACK than CARNAL FORGE or IN THY DREAMS, because Heavy/Power Metal it is that this quartet slams around our ears, but with an at times surprisingly big Hard Rock influence, which I definitely would not have expected here. The guitars are fat, the drums benefit a lot from the powerful production from the Black Lounge Studio and the vocals of Peter Kronberg, who before ASPERITY apparently has sung in the cover band NOTHING RIGHT NOW, are clear and melodic.
The opener “Will They Come“ shows right at the beginning that they have a lot of power in the verses and solo passages, but in the chorus remind me a lot of the typically Scandinavian Hard Rock/Melodic Metal and its super catchy melodies, which sounds equally interesting and too much trimmed towards catchiness. “Pleasure And Pain” is a driving track, which builds upon a comparable structure and here it works better than on the opener as everything simply flows together better.
After the calmer “The Pray“, which lacks some power, “Soul Collector“ brings us a calmer verse, which somehow reminds me of EVERGREY, then with a driving, bit bridge and chorus, which sticks to your memory right away. “Never Understand” then brings me memories of DREAM EVIL (not for the first time, btw), in the structure and the combination of Rock and Metal, because ASPERITY are definitely catchy and with some time this mix also wins more and more appeal, apart from when they over do it with the catchy choruses, of course.
“Past Life“ thunders out a double-bass whack, without getting bombastic, with very good melody and guitar work, to me has a light NOCTURNAL RITES touch, which is meant positively here!
At the beginning I really had my doubts concerning them exaggerating these super catchy choruses, but ASPERITY manage to get the curve, which I am happy about as you do not get this kind of mix too often and the guys really know how to combine catchy Rock and heavy Metal homogenously. An altogether pretty good debut that leaves a promise for the future, I will look forward to it! (Online April 18, 2004)