Asgaroth - _Red Shift_
(Peaceville, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
I remember first hearing this Spanish band when they released their album _Trapped in the Depths of Eve_, and back then they were all Emperor-worship. Compared to the relatively straightforward symphonic keyboards, fast drumming and screamed vocals, _Red Shift_ is certainly a different game altogether. Peaceville liked it, and are re-releasing the album after it originally came out on Abstract Emotions in 2001. Ironically, _Red Shift_ brings to my mind some latter day Emperor, like its predecessor did with its contemporary version of Emperor. This time, however, the similarities are only superficial. _Red Shift_ has shades of black metal -- and where it does they remind me of Emperor -- but it's mostly a rather different affair. Above all, _Red Shift_ comes across as modern, with a slight Fear Factory (circa _Demanufacture_) tinge to their sound, even if the music itself is far from FF. The music is neither extremely aggressive nor bland, varying in pace and amount of melody and usually relying on a good guitar sound coupled with prominent keyboards (some atmospheric, some electronic and a lot of piano) and varied vocals. "Naked Eye" provides a well-balanced, entertaining opener for the album, and is followed by the operatic choir of "Lured Decoy" that seems to make a point out of showing that there are still things left to reveal after just one track, in case anyone thought that was all there was to Asgaroth's sound. The next track, "Cyphred", extends this symphonic element; it is a tranquil instrumental track that provides an early break after two good tracks, leaving the listener in anticipation of what is to come. And for the most part, the rest of the album does deliver in quality and variety -- take for example the more atmospheric "Buried" or the symphonic "I, Befouled", both of which prove the importance of the fine keyboard work on this album. Some of the tracks, however, seem to lack a bit more of the intensity that one can find earlier in the album. Still, _Red Shift_ is varied, entertaining, and often quite impressive, and should be worth your time.


(article published 26/3/2003)

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