By all accounts, and from photos and films I’ve seen, Venice is one of the world’s most unique and beautiful cities, a magical place that seems to inspire art that is likewise not entirely of this world — though the art inspired by the city can take dark, supernatural shapes as well as sunlit ones. And that brings us to The Path To Absence, the debut EP by the Venetian black metal band Askesis — which we are premiering for you today.
The slow, morbid chords and banshee wails that begin “Prayer To the Void” begin to spread the cloak of darkness immediately, and the sense of ravaging pestilence only mounts as the band accelerate the pace. You’ll quickly notice that the music has a heavy, thundering low-end sound and that the jolting drum progressions not only move the rhythms and pacing in differing directions as the song progresses, but will also rattle your teeth. Meanwhile, the swarming tremolo chords and predatory growls deepen the sense of malignancy that those doom-shrouded opening chords announce.
The remaining four songs prove to be equally gripping — combining an array of poisonous riffs and bleak melodies with the earth-shaking blows of a powerhouse rhythm section and the voracious savagery of the vocals. The songs are dynamic and usually straddle the smoking crevasse between occult death metal and black metal, with a strong stench of doom in the mix as well. When the music is moving at full threshing speed, or bounding with punk-influenced rhythms, it gets the blood pumping… but the sense that something in the shadows hungers for your blood is never far away.
The Path To Absence is an auspicious debut — and it’s available now as a name-your-price download at Bandcamp: