Album Review: Asylium – An Architecture of Human Desolation
Band: Asylium (Sweden)
Album: An Architecture of Human Desolation (2011)
Genre: Old-school Death Metal / Grindcore
Metal out of Sweden today, by a four-piece named Asylium. An Architecture of Human Desolation is their first full-length accomplishment and it was released into the world in June of this year. I’ve been on it for a couple of days now and I can tell you it’s loud. Grinding. Heavy. Hard. Raw. Crude. And not for fuckin’ pussies.
An Architecture of Human Desolation is a bit like Grindcore for people with extra big balls. It has the same integral crudeness and hardness, just played at extra brutal amp settings and with an overload of sharp hooks and leads. A concept that should be familiar. But does it really work?
Well, just to shoot the elephant in the room straight away, this could definitely be an interesting concept – and it probably is for many people – but for me the album is sorely lacking variation. Having, over the course of a few days, listened to the record in its entirety for like four or five times now, I’m still not recognizing any songs, let alone recognize them as being better or worse than others.
So yeah, it’s monotonous in terms of feel and action. I do recognize there is plenty of technical axe work on display though, which is generally a good thing. Joel Axelsson is banging the bongos like his life depends on it and this results in massive blasts of thundering violence. His straight parts lack a bit of inspiration – it really is pretty much all steady banging – but the fills he does do make up for that in terms of groove.
Considering the fact that Frederik Lundell is the only guitarist in the band inspires awe, as there is so much of the instrument to be heard at any time that it’s hard to believe it’s just one guy. I do think I’m hearing multiple layers at times, but plenty of times it’s just the one I’m hearing and it still comes at you like a humongous wall of terror. The guy’s employing the sharp type of leads, the type that seems to run up and down the guitar neck like a gnome on speed doing a multi-stage fitness test. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and with sharp and immediate turns in direction.
Bass on the record is taken care of by the only female member in the band, Mikaela Åkesson, but unfortunately there’s little I can say about her playing. I just can’t single out her lines, as they are just totally drowned out by a flood of guitars and blast beats. Perhaps she’s doing what the guitars are doing in the basis? I wouldn’t know.
Finally, vocals are by frontman Andreas Runfors. He has a deep, brutal, almost pig squealing grunt. Hoarse and raw, almost like the bark of a pissed off wolf, they are used in both longer growls and quicker phrases. Other than that there would have been room for some tonal shifts, as his vox seem to stick on one and the same level throughout.
Before moving to the conclusion, let’s serve up God Dethroned, the eighth track on the album and the one for which they did a nice – and bloody – music video.
So, the wrap-up is as expected: there’s plenty of technical skill and knowhow, but An Architecture of Human Desolation lets a lot of points slip due to a lack of variation. As it stands this will appeal only to those with a strong love for the type of Metal that is loud and noisy for the sole reason because it can. I’m thinking of a mixture of Grindcore fans and fans of Old-school Swedish material here, but even for them I doubt the eleven songs on the record will keep them interested for the 36+ minutes An Architecture of Human Desolation measures. Not bad, nothing special.
My Grade: 6/10
Buy this when:
- you’re on a quest for Metal that is just loud
- you’re a diehard fan of Grindcore and / or Old-school Swedish Death
- you’ve got money to spare