Stygian Dreams

Remember in the mid/late 1990s when metal took a hard lean to Gothic overtures and bands like Sentenced, Anathema, Tiamat, Katatonia, Samael, Cemetery, Paradise Lost, Rotting Christ softened up and bands like Godgory, Sculpture, Crematory, Agathodaimon were a dime a dozen on Nuclear Blast Records? Well, Finland’s Asphodelus are here to remind you of that time, good or bad, with their full length debut.

So what we have here is mildly aggressive mopey, doomy mid paced death metal with keyboards, gothic tones and lots of gloomy atmospheres and and riffs and song titles like ” Lamentation of the Lost Soul”, Sleep of Eternity” and “Where Freezing Spirits Fall”.  What it lacks it bite it makes up for in mood and purely mid 90s aura , including the musty, dry, but authentic (and analog) production  and Jari Filppu’s pained , raspy howls and growls with melancholy lead work that really imbues Rotting Christ‘s A Triarchy of Lost Lovers and  A Dead Poem era.

My feelings on the album are a bit torn as I kinda dug the sound back in the day but it was also mixed with heaps of disappointment at bands changing their sound, but there are definitely some poignant downtrodden moments that really seem like they were recovered from some lost 1994 time capsule like the opening strains of “Delusions Ad Astra”, delicate, morose melodies of “Scent of Venus” and “The Hourglass Infernal”, and its sweeping mopey keyboards and bombastic drums.

Almost nine minute album closer “”Where Freezing Spirits Fall” encompasses the band and the nostalgic sound with an dreary, doomy gait with just a hint of hope dancing in the melodic guitar lines that end the album on a wilting high note. In all, a decent rel;ease that takes you back in time to a weird, divisive and experimental time in metal, and depending on what you thought of that era will determine how you feel about this album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 11th, 2019


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