Terminus Episode 105 - Asgrauw, Firtan


Manage episode 343728300 series 2830639
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Let's face it, people: 2022 has been a difficult mating season for black metal. They're not sending their best, folks- or at least they haven't been so far. That might all change with today's episode, which features two excellent records of autumnal, melodic, and strikingly structured black metal which reaches back to the trenchcoat era of the late 90s/early 00s for its primary influences. If you're the type of Terminator who listens for assistance in separating the wheat from the chaff: welcome home.

First up is the newest record by Dutch stalwarts Asgrauw, who TBMG has mentioned numerous times on the show as a central figure to that nation's scene and as a personal favorite. For those unfamiliar, Asgrauw play an agile and melodic but traditionally aggressive form of black metal, pared down and structurally minimal, but harmonically and timbrally rich. This is a record that strikes a fine balance between accessibility and authenticity, between simplicity and dynamism, and is almost certainly one of the best black metal records of the year.

Drawing from a similar pool of influences but with a radically different vision is Firtan, a German band who reach back to ambitious, prog-infused black metal records to create something vast in both scope and sound. Featuring striking technical playing and impressively dense and saturated instrumental arrangements, Firtan manage to capture the excitement of early prog-black without sacrificing the core of heavy metal songwriting we're all here for. Violins? Spoken word passages? Maybe there's a place for those things after all.

0:00:00 - Intro

0:02:14 - Asgrauw - Façade (Death Prayer Records)

0:53:42 - Interlude - Thyrfing - “Set Sail to Plunder,” fr. Thyrfing (Hammerheart Records, 1998 / digital by Despotz).

0:58:06 - Firtan - Marter (AOP Records)

1:45:05 - Outro - Nagelfar - “Srontgorrth (Das Dritte Kapitel),” fr. Hünengrab im Herbst (Kettenhund Records, 1997). Here’s digital for the 2017 Ván reissue, with sadly inferior cover art. If you wanna hear these guys do a straight-up ripper, check the preceding track, “Bildnis der Apocalpyse,” or pretty much anything from Virus West (2001).

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