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Asguard: Wikka

Asguard is an extreme metal band formed from the ashes of Ancient Castle and driven by melodic twin guitars and fast, punishing double bass drums. In many ways similar to Children of Bodom and Norther, the band does stray away from this melodic path on more aggressive pieces such as "Vision of Dream", complete with raging vocals, pounding drums and raw, almost thrashy guitars. The vocals alternate between deep growls and the occasional black metal screams.

Whether the music presented on Wikka would suffice to classify Asguard as a pure black metal band or not is debatable. To me, they seem more like a cross-over band, unafraid to jump genres in the blink of an eye. The anthemic and surprisingly melodic "Black Wandering od Death Vision 2", with its obvious power metallic gallop riffs, belies its counterpart, "Vision 1", which is an aggressive, melodic black metal number. Still, it moves from one section to another, slowing down with the addition of acoustic breaks in between crushing blast beats and primal screams. "Master of Everything", despite its cheesy title, is one of the heavier cuts, venturing into blackened death metal category. It is driven by a tenacious bass line throughout, but with an added Wintersun-like melodicisim and gritty guitar strokes. To further diversify Wikka, Asguard present the power ballad "The Ancient Track", featuring clean vocals sung over wind effects and cold, Scandinavian acoustic guitars; or the instrumental title song which could have the band mistaken for a technical metal act.

There is also a cover of Judas Priest's "Leather Rebel", with a thick groove and heavy guitar accents. The vocals on this song are also more guttural and wrenching than the the melodic, screechy style he utilises on most of the songs. "Doomed..." and "... on Eternity" expand on their melodic signature, except that the former is a bit too repetitive in the riffing department. After track nine, there are six other songs which aren't mentioned in the booklet. They may be demos of their upcoming release, but I'm not sure. At any rate, the material on these songs implies a stronger, more focused approach to composition, balancing heavy passages out with clean acoustic guitars and more diverse vocals. The singer goes from deep whispers to ear-bleeding screams and everything in between.

It's not too often you will run into a metal band from Belarus, and Wikka, although far from perfect, is a promising album from these guys.

Track Listing

  1. Wikka
  2. Vision of Dream
  3. Black Wandering of Death [Vision 1]
  4. Black Wandering of Death [Vision 2]
  5. Master of Everything [Dream Version]
  6. The Ancient Track
  7. Doomed
  8. Leather Rebel
  9. ...on Eternity

Added: September 16th 2006
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Dark Reign Recordings
Hits: 1961
Language: english

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