Given the name - Asmodeus X - and the title of this CD - Wolf Age - I was vaguely expecting some Eastern European beat combo where the crowd of some ten musicians were to be found sawing vigourously away at a variety of strange instruments and collectively singing songs of the frozen tundra. Or perhaps how their tractor had become bogged down, and that would be the last use they'd get out of it until the spring thaws.
Not so. Not even a bit slightly. What we find here is... More than a little odd, yet surprisingly engaging. Imagine, if you will, some mostly bippety-bop synthesizers humming cheerful little riffs to themselves as they pack a hamper for a picnic in the countryside. But! What's this? It's a couple of scary looking fellows with guitars peering from the windows of a large four-wheel-drive and they've brought the rain with them! Oh no! The picnic will be spoiled!
As luck would turn out, the chaps in the 4WD know of a splendid picnic spot which is both handy for an abandoned factory, should the rain come on properly, and affords splendid views over the surrounding countryside. So off they all travel, singing... Well, not happy songs, by any stretch, but the synths have become increasingly worried about global warming and the unequal division of wealth, so are more than pleased to be able to emit somewhat disturbing bip-bop riffs as mindless happiness could lead to denial and psychosis.
Thus there are scrunchy guitars underpinned by oddly borbling synths accompanied by Really Quite Angry vocals. At first, it sounds like it should fail to work on a cosmic scale, but then you notice the Asian influenced riffs and the snatches of randomness that sound like someone with a broken short-wave radio cycling past the studio at speed. Mind out for them dustbins! Oh! That's got to hurt... Then everything goes unexpectedly Pink Floyd for no adequately explained reason.
By the time we arrive at the tree-lined slopes of the song that is pleased to call itself Black Forest, things have gone a whole lot RAWK (chunky goth-metal subdivision). Maybe it was going that way all along...nope. The next track - White Mountain - sounds not unlike a hungover Mike Oldfield wandering about his darkened studio in search of coffee mugs and accidentally composing something that has equal hints of early music and Newcastle Brown Ale. And a damn fine thing it is too.
On the other hand, you could refuse to imagine any of that. Further, you could consider it silly and wonder when the proper review is going to put in an appearance. Well, unfortunately, that's been delivered to a factory near Namur by accident and been zinc plated for its trouble. In a couple of weeks it'll be forming the greater part of a new counter-top in a local bar in Ghent.
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