In January of this year I haphazardly encountered (and then wrote about) two tracks — “Black Triangle Temple” and “Transformation” — which appeared to be the lone finished recordings by Asagraum, a two-woman band composed of Dutch guitarist/vocalist Obscura and drummer T. Kolsvart, who is Canadian but lives in Norway. They founded Asagraum in 2015, though both women have performed with other groups (T. Kolsvart, for example, has been a live drummer with the likes of Craft and Isvind, and Obscura is also a member of Draugur). I reported at that time that they had ambitions to release a debut album this year — and soon those ambitions will be realized.
On September 29, the Finnish label KVLT will release Asagraum’s debut album, Potestas Magicum Diaboli, which features artwork by Depravarts and Khaos Diktator Design. The album includes those two excellent tracks that I discovered in January plus six more, for a total of running time of 44 minutes. In May, one of those remaining six (“Black Sun Prayer“) also appeared on YouTube, and today we present the premiere of another: “Carried By Lucifer’s Wings“.
What is already evident from the Asagraum songs released before today, and becomes even more evident from the music in this new track, is that Asagraum are skilled songwriters and performers who have successfully integrated ravaging ferocity and chilling celestial atmosphere, paying homage to the traditions of Scandinavian satanic black metal from the ’90s while also incorporating more modern elements.
“Black Sun Prayer“, for example (a song that has been stuck in my head for months), includes dissonant, ringing melodies that are alien in their aura, enhancing the cold, poisonous, and inhuman perils that lurk within the amalgam of furious drum blasting, scalding snarls, and a dark storm of slaughtering riffs. It’s a pitch-black torrent of derangement, destructiveness, and exultation, one that nevertheless glows with an eerie cosmic sheen. And it’s quite memorable as well.
“Carried By Lucifer’s Wings“, on the other hand, intertwines differing elements in a way that gets its hooks in the head just as powerfully as “Black Sun Prayer”. It alternates between a rocking rhythm with thrashing chords and vibrant leads and more vicious passages laced with unsettling notes that chime and toll like funeral bells and a cold, melancholy melody. As that melody evolves, the music twists and turns, creating a disturbing, ominous atmosphere, with Obscura’s voice exploding in cauterizing howls of wrenching extremity. The song gets your head moving, but it also plunges the listener into sensations of writhing delirium.
And so, the signs we already have point to Potestas Magicum Diaboli as an especially strong debut. For further information about the release, watch these spaces:
In anticipation of the album’s release, Asagraum have also scheduled performances at various locations in Europe this fall, and a schedule of the dates can be found below, along with the track list for the album — and of course our premiere.
2. Black Triangle Temple
4. Gospel of Ignition
5. Daar Waar Ik Sterf
6. Black Sun Prayer
7. Carried by Lucifer’s Wings
8. I Burn within the Devil
Oct. 1 Germany – Berlin
Oct. 2 Netherlands – Amsterdam
Oct. 3 Germany – Oberhausen
Oct. 4 Germany – Weiher-Mörlenbach
Oct. 5 Czech Republic – Praha
Oct. 6 Poland – Gliwice
Oct. 7 Germany – Löberschütz
Oct. 19 Romania – Bucharest (Rites of the Black Mass-festival)
Dec. 3 Netherlands – Rotterdam