Asphodelus - Dying Beauty and the Silent Sky 12" MLP.
Review by Trevor Proctor.
Finland’s Cemetery Fog was a death/doom band I’ve supported and followed since reviewing their demo “Shadows from the Cemetery” when Iron Bonehead Productions re-released it on cassette back in March 2014; this was subsequently followed by the excellent “Towards the Gates” 12” MLP in August 2014, again released by Iron Bonehead Productions and reviewed here.Unfortunately there was no further output from the band in 2015, during which they played a limited number of live shows including Finnish Death Metal Maniacs and Unholy Metal Mayhem. Information from the band was also very limited during 2015, even their Facebook page wasn't updated from April until January when, seemingly out of the blue, they released the following news “We are changing the name of the band. Cemetery Fog is becoming Asphodelus - a new name, which we like better. The process of changing the name has been going on for over a year already, and now it finally becomes official. Our upcoming 12" EP is called "Dying Beauty and the Silent Sky." I was surprised to say the least with this news as I had watched them mature musically and grow their support during the previous few years and, on first impression, I felt they were starting all over again. They included a Soundcloud link to “Nemo Ante Mortem Beatus” from their upcoming MLP, Dying Beauty and the Silent Sky, on their Facebook post and whilst it was reassuringly good I knew it would take a full listen of the MLP to fuller reassure me there’s nothing to worry about.
Within a few weeks the digital promo email hit my inbox and was instantly downloaded for a comprehensive listen but even as it was downloading there was a level of solace in the fact that it’s Iron Bonehead Productions who released the MLP which recently became available in a limited quantity of 500. The artwork was created by Antti, (Witchcraft/Black Feast) the vinyl is 140g (black) and the mastermind that is VK carried out all mastering. Cemetery Fog used intros to their music exceptionally well and this is again the case with Asphodelus. The opening intro takes it’s time in setting the scene and is close to three minutes long featuring keyboard effects with traces of a female vocal in the background.
The Intro is followed by “Illusion of Life” and within a few chords their sound is instantly recognizable. Cemetery Fog liked to explore longer track durations and this is also the case with Asphodelus, Illusion of Life is close to nine minutes long but gives the band time to experiment with quicker tempos more than they did under the name Cemetery Fog. This is an excellent track and reassuringly shows us music under the name of Asphodelus will be every bit as good as that of Cemetery Fog. First used on Towards the Gates with fantastic effect a female vocal is again present and as always fits their music perfectly by adding a further layer of atmosphere. Track three, Dying Beauty and the Silent Sky is an instrumental of close to five minutes that again uses the female vocal in the background along with clean and soothing guitar work; showcasing a mellow yet beautiful side to them and further illustrating both their musical ability and ambition. Closing track, “Nemo Ante Mortem Beatus” was that which they first gave us a listen to on their Soundcloud page and is another seven minute plus track.
Throughout Dying Beauty and Silent Sky Asphodelus deliver music similar in sound to that of Cemetery Fog but also take longer than before to explore both faster and mellower elements and their music enjoys a further depth for it – Cemetery Fog evolved with each release and as Asphodelus they have evolved even further, an evolution perfectly summed up by Nathan T Birk when he stated “Meanwhile, from this majestic canvas often explode sparkling Bathorian leads, guiding the atmosphere from sorrow to triumph. ASPHODELUS were young as Cemetery Fog and still may be, but their confidence and ambition in this new guise are immediately apparent on Dying Beauty & the Silent Sky - and they're just getting started, once again.”
As much as I like the name Cemetery Fog it’s not for me to question their motives in changing it to Asphodelus and after all, what’s in a name if the music's as good as this? My only hope is they continue to play Cemetery Fog tracks under their new name as that music is just too good to leave dormant forever.
If you liked Cemetery Fog I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with this, further growth and proof of talent from this sublime Finnish band. 9.5/10.
01 – Intro
02 – Illusion of Life
03 – Dying Beauty and the Silent Sky
04 - Nemo Ante Mortem Beatus.