Album Title: Legenden
Label: AFM Records
Release date: 16 February 2018
This is something of a rarity for me – a briefer review of an EP. However, I felt the need to write something about this release because it certainly deserves it, at least as far as I’m concerned anyway.
The subject of this review is Asenblut, a German Viking/melodic death metal band who have been around for quite a while it seems, but until now, had not featured on my radar. And, in many ways, I am the perfect audience for ‘Legenden’, a five-track EP because I imagine it is aimed at those who are currently unfamiliar with their output. I say this because four of the five tracks are 2018 re-workings of songs that originally featured on ‘Aufbruch’, their 2009 debut full-length release. The one remaining track is a cover of the Manowar song ‘God Or Man’.
Having been brazenly unaware of Asenblut until now, I can’t tell you how these re-worked songs compare to the originals. But in many ways, this is irrelevant because ‘Legenden’ has been released specifically to demonstrate how the band sound nearly a decade on from their debut. On that score, I can reveal that they have been re-recorded with the help of Sebastian’Seeb’ Leevermann of Greenman Studios. More than that though, the music sounds huge.
The approach of Asenblut will be familiar to those who enjoy the soothing and calm tones of Amon Amarth, because there are some distinct similarities. ‘Die Legende’ for example, borrows heavily from the better-known Swedes’ playbook, in that it features that epic and melodic approach coupled with huge, meaty riffs and an uncompromisingly heavy and intense rhythm section. Vocalist Tetzel von Asenblut also displays more than a passing resemblance to Johan Hegg in that his gruff vocals are commanding and full of deep menace.
However, if Asenblut were a pure clone or without merit, I’d not be reviewing this release. So, whilst there are some strong parallels with Amon Amarth in particular, the Göttingen-based quintet do have some of their own ideas which come across nicely within the limited original material.
For example, the opening track, ‘Asenblut’ has a mid-section that is properly anthemic with an uplifting melody that has a vaguely power metal feel to it within the surrounding aggression. Also, the grooves are distinct, providing a pronounced change of tempo to counteract the frentic output elsewhere.
Despite the savage vocals and crushing riffs, there’s a slightly brighter and breezier feel to ‘Heldenbürde’. It contains the ubiquitous powerful chorus that’s like a rallying cry and it is topped off by a lengthy, soaring lead guitar solo that underlines the power metal credentials that I hinted at within the opener, especially with the flamboyant, exuberant closing notes. But there is also a demonstrable thrash feel to the composition too, which adds further colour to the palette.
I’m not the biggest fan of cover songs, but even I will admit that the Asenblut rendition of ‘God or Man’ is an entertaining romp which makes a muscular original and turns it into an even more bludgeoning listening experience. Oh and have I mentioned the power metal influences yet?!
In conclusion I have to admit that Asenblut have done exactly what I believe they set out to do with ‘Legenden’, because they have caught my ear and made me extremely interested in what’s coming next from this super Viking/melodic death metal band. I hope it’s a full-length album in the not-too-distant future, because I want to hear more of this music as soon as possible, please.
The Score Of Much Metal: 8.0
If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here: