France has never been one of the biggest nations when it comes to Metal music, yet over the last few years it has been pretty interesting in the French Black Metal field. Lots of bands really know to add some originality to the scene, even if it’s not always to my liking. ASMODEE is another one of those; they released a second album called “Simulacres” in 2004 as well as a new short promo in 2006, I have both here conveniently on one disc.
In the description the word sophisticated is used in combination with Black Metal, not always a good sign for the two can easily be anathema. It is pretty fitting though and not at all in a negative way. ASMODEE create an interesting hybrid of pretty traditional Black Metal sometimes played in technical Death Metal style, but all clearly within the boundaries of the Black Metal aesthetic.
In particular the drumming can really sound on the Death Metal side with some really heavy blast passages. Moreover it is the guitar work creating some fine atmosphere while still being technical. From standard dark riffs to intense soloing to progressive parts, it’s all there. Vocally, the band sticks to a raw voice heard ever so often in Black Metal, but then again, there’s a reason for that and their vocalist does manage to add some extra despair to the music.
The final song from the 2006 Promo part of the CD “XTHXR” is different from the others with a very dark Industrialized sound and some great creepy keyboards. Maybe not their best work but I like the variety offered. “Simulacres” itself then is an older recording but the sound is still much the same although the tempo is a bit higher overall.
It’s really remarkable how a band with quite a definite Black Metal sound is capable of incorporating the kind of technical abilities not native to the style. Some songs like “Red Sky Rises” and “Ether” have some real Gothenburg melodies in the mix as well as high quality solos. Above all the band sounds really tight; and even more so on “Simulacres” then on their latest songs; all this without losing a dark and sometimes depressive sound.
Recommended for both Black Metal fans who don’t mind some technical and melodic touches as well as fans of Melodic Death Metal. (Online April 14, 2006)