From Transmission we usually do not get many releases, but for that mostly with quite some quality to it. From Holland we usually get a lot of Gothic, be it Rock or Metal. And on ASRAI’s debut “Touch In The Dark” these two elements come together, so this should normally result in a really good Gothic album, shouldn’t it?
ASRAI already were founded in 1988, so are roaming the scene for quite some time now, but still, 16 years later, they come around the corner with their second CD only, so they take their time. The band consists of three ladies (vocals, keyboards and drums) and two gentlemen (guitar and bass), so not the very usual line-up and the musical description is neither: “Heavy Rock with influences from Wave and Gothic Metal”.
A band that I feel reminded of more than once while listening to “Touch In The Dark” is LACUNA COIL, most probably because of the voice of Margriet Mol, which is not that much different than the one of Cristina Scabbia. The whole thing has been recorded under the direction of Roman Schoensee, so a clear and powerful sound is a given, while the cover also fits the style very well.
With „In Front Of Me“ they start out very melodic and intensive, with nicely present guitars and heavy drums, which form a nice contrast with the atmospheric keyboards and dark melodies, plus the good voice of Margriet, a good start I would say. And on the following “Pale Light” the quintet continues this moody mix, especially the powerful and partly very rhythmic drums stand out. Overall the songs are pretty compact and leave all big pomp out, with the exception of “Tower”, which takes a while before it gets going, but then turns into a great Gothic Metal ballad.
So basically both theses are true, for one the quality of Transmission, fort he other Holland and mostly Gothic Rock/Metal. Surely ASRAI are not a revelation in originality, but very well done indeed, you can hear the year long experience and who likes Gothic Rock/Metal should check out ASRAI’s latest. (Online June 17, 2004)