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Asgaroth: Red Shift

Hailing from Barcelona, Spain, Asgaroth are a surprisingly melodic and progressive sounding death metal band. Much like Borknagar, Asgaroth combines sweeping, symphonic keyboard orchestrations with crushing guitar riffs and a multitude of different vocal styles. While a full-on death grunt assault usually can get irritating at times, the combination of gruff with clean melodic vocals works real well here.

Tunes like "Lured Decoy" just scream with power, as lead vocalist Christopher Baque-Wildman switches from soaring falsetto to morbid death growls quite convincingly as the band rips through some killer thrash. The bands cleaner, more speed-metal material is very similar to old Blind Guardian, with galloping double bass drums, chugging guitars, and harsh vocals. The extremely melodic "Buried" is chock full of symphonic keyboards, as is the atmopheric instrumental "Cyphred", both tunes falling more in the prog camp than metal by far. There's a few crushing tunes that bridge the gap between death and prog-metal, like "Mindscape" and "Naked Eye", which will ultimately help give this CD appeal to fans of both styles of music. "I, Befouled" contains brutal guitar riffs meshed with trippy keyboard washes, while the symphonic title track has a surprising Pink Floyd feel to it. despite the unsettling whispered black metal vocals.

Red Shift is one of the strongest extreme metal albums I have heard in a while. Those who are normally turned off by death and black metal would be well advised to check this CD out. While it does have many characteristics of those two styles, there's lots of prog and prog-metal going on here as well. I'm sure we shall be hearing more from Asgaroth in the near future!

Added: January 25th 2003
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Peaceville Records
Hits: 3094
Language: english

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