Asa Noir – “Fall Of The Idols” (WormHoleDeath Records)
Right from its bombastic film score intro it’s clear that Asa Noir are a little different. Despite taking root in 2004 initially in the realms of Scandi black metal, that soon evolved. Likewise, although having a fascination of Norse mythology, the band were keen to distance themselves from the whole Norse / Pagan / Folk thing despite it being a happening one. Quo vadis? Well, their name is a clue: both a play on Bathory’s “Twilight Of The Gods” there is no doubt an influence from the mighty Quorthon; equally also from the devious Loki unto the which the band explore the darker side of Norse legends in following the Left Hand Path. Add to this the gothic horror fiction of writers like H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe and you have the rich cultural pickings from which Asa Noir draw their inspiration. From Henri Asikainen’s drawling vocals which are subtly hoarse (although its clear he’s still singing) to the dark melodies of Ville Oravala and Kalle Hotti’s guitars that still retain the complex spirit of Jon Nödtveidt, much of Asa Noir’s sound is owed to the wonderfully dextrous keyboards of Toni Haapasaari, whose work features prominently – and rightfully so – in the mix, adding incredible atmosphere, haunting effects and even eastern harmonies that bring real texture to songs like ‘Hawthorns For The Jotunn’s Harlot’, ‘Rise Of The Lokean’ and ‘Naglfar Lounge Music’. Asa Noir have bravely evolved away from conventionality, offering a perversely twisted view of their dark aggressive world through the fascinating theater drama they portray on this unique album.