USA, Self-released, Technical Death / Black Metal
The Death metal genre in general, tends to be fragmentary by nature, with so many sub-sub genres entering into existence and then fading out as quickly as they arrived. Admittedly, death metal has transmogrified greatly during the past ten years with copious usage of online activities and the inevitable awareness of cross- pollination between sub-genres. Behemoth, for example melds the machine gun riffage of death metal with the mystic overtones and anti-sectarian rebellion of black metal. Thankfully, however, the level of musicianship in the metal community has arisen to virtuosic proportions. It should come to no surprise then black metal should find its darkness permeating in the techdeath genre. This is where Fort Worth metallers, Asylum contributes best. I have read previous reviews on their new e.p, “Committed” (available on Band Camp) calling their particular brand of death metal, blackened technical death metal. I would like to add my own sub-sub genre here and deem them “techblack”.
Unofficial genre germinations aside, Asylum provide the listeners with six songs of rabid, sonic erudition that merges dark, haunting melodies with aggressive bursts of mind- numbing speed with dexterous abandon. The first track, “ Welcome” is a fitting albeit darkening introduction into the band’s tonal psyche as vocalist Colby Rodgers greets the listeners with a Dani Filthian “ Behold!” as lead guitarist Jonathan Hatley weaves brutality and melody consistently through the opening offering. The second track, “Dream Oracle” does not provide the listener with any type of respite whatsoever and paints the song in a dizzying array of dark colors. It is the third song, however that demands the most attention-and it should. Entitled the Cannibal Corpsian “like Acidic Bath Immersion”, the song shows Asylum at its most virtuosic and most disturbed. After just two listens and an in-depth reading of the lyrics, I felt as if I was being submerged in a vat full of caustic and deadly fluid by demented chemists laughing uncontrollably in the bowels of a derelict sanitarium. Hatley’s usage of leit motifs (to use a classical music term) is undeniably superb and quite addictive as his melodic patterns are reminiscent of the neoclassical style.The fourth and fifth songs, Dimensional Fertilization” and “Moonlit Rite” tell of alien abductions and forbidden pagan ceremonies as the melodious ferocity never diminishes. It is not until the last and title song “Committed” that we finally get to partake in a much needed rest- but not for long. The song begins in a waltz-laden 6/8 time signature only to change to 4/4 a few moments later. What is significant about this last song is its complexity due to chaotic chord changes in an indiscernible key. Yet, this is what constructs the song’s great beauty and darkened poise. You are hoplessly, helplessly and haplessly locked within the Asylum’s walls with nary a chance to escape. What is ironic though, is that you accept your circumstances willingly.
With all that I have written about Asylum’s debut e.p., it might seem that I am lauding them with quite noticeable copiously construed praise. I whole heatedly admit this. I do so because this release heralds a new era for metal. It allows those turned off by the rawness of black metal to be engaged in an amalgamation of the primitive and the complex. This is a firm indication of where the scene is headed to, and Asylum, in their darkened, blackened cells for the mentally unstable, lead the way. Listen to this. You will lose your sanity and be eternally committed to the shadowed commune known as techblack.
Reviewer: Silent Deep Ocean