This Dark Reign
Review By: darksoul
1. Act I: There is No Time for Inaction.
2. Under the Silent Moon
5. Act II: In the World of Violence and Lies
6. Master Of Everything
7. Supremacy Over the World
8. The Main Art of Mortal.
9. Slave Forever
10. Act III: Time of Eternal Dream
11. Crash of Hope
12. Last Day of the Real Existence.
13. Eternal Dream
14. Act IV: Infinite Road To Hell
15. Dark Veil of Dreams
16. Where Once the Moon Rose
The latest album by Belarus band Asguard comes to us by the name "Dreamslave". This four act, sixteen song album mixes strong black metal influences with subtle progressive elements.
The album kicks off with "Act I: There is No Time for Inaction" which consists of the first four tracks. The first track is a short noise intro that sets off "Under the Silent Moon". Exquisite guitar work is accentuated by powerful drums and keyboards. "Dreamslave" continues the act with catchy melodies, piano, and groovy guitars. The harsh vocals serve as contrast to the highly melodious keyboard and riffs. The final song of Act I is "Masquerade". A soft, bass intro progresses into a mid-paced, Finnish style section. This track is the highlight of the first act with precise hits, smooth flow, and a moving structure.
"Act II: In the World of Violence and Lies" begins with the sound of the outdoors at night. Wind, crickets, water drips, and everything else is backed by simple keyboards that create an eerie setting. The actual music for this act begins with "Master of Everything". While not all that fast, the song features a great tempo and an ever-present epic feel which makes the song truly enjoyable. "Supremacy Over the World" is more of a straight-forward black metal track with blast beats, shredding guitars, and hateful vocals. Next is "The Main Art of Mortal". While staying comfortably in the Swedish style of melodic death, the song allows for a great break/drum fill section. Act II is brought to a close with "Slave Forever" and its powerful, old-school influence.
The third act, "Time of Eternal Dream" is brought in with the sound of rain and keyboards and progresses into the song "Crash of Hope". This dark, melodic piece moves from one riff to the next with ease while retaining thunderous power. Keyboards accompany the palm muted guitar attack to add a bit of flavor to the song. "Last Day of the Real Existence" immediately pounds into a fast-paced, high-octane feel. The drums slow a bit during the verse only to pummel the listener during the chorus. Again, Asguard create a song that is heavy, catchy, and thoroughly enjoyable. "Eternal Dream" is the final track of Act III. While being an absolutely beautiful track with lots of breaks and softer moments, it is also a track with undeniable aggression.
The fourth and final act is entitled "Infinite Road to Hell". The intro once again features softer keyboards, this time it has a very majestic, soundtrack air about it. "Dark Veil of Dreams" picks up after the intro and presents another moving piece. Not too fast, not too slow, the simple melodies break through and let the vocals dish out the intensity. The drums stay relatively static during its entirety, but the piano is what really puts this song apart. The ending piano section is just grandiose. The final song is somewhat of a let down as it is just spoken word over folk instruments.
While this is an incredible CD full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and soft to heavy movements, it's still something that's been done before. There's nothing new here and it really doesn't do much to lift the genre. The recording quality is very nice and everything sounds really crisp and clean.
Is this a good album? Hell yes! Is this a great album? Most definitely! Is it something to rape and pillage to get? Not really. If it broke the genre a bit more, it would be just amazing, but as it stands, it is a great album for the style. Fans of Diabolical Masquerade, Enslaved, and Dimmu Borgir will get a kick out of this.