Asarhaddon - Reysa
Geisterasche Organisation
Melodic Black Metal
6 songs (51'20")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

German Asarhaddon take their moniker from an Assirian king of the 7th century BC, but they don’t have any Sumerian or middle-Eastern influences in their black metal. What the duo manages to prove plentifully on Reysa is that black metal can be absolutely muscular and forceful, but at the same time melodic. Moreover, you can probably call Reysa ultramelodic. It is if that just about every track, even every moment, on the album was analyzed by the Germans, and if melody wasn’t obvious and present then the piece didn’t meet the criteria of being included in the composition.

After a mournful guitar intro Der Ursprung comes out at you, blasting, with a full and dense sound with waves upon waves of melodies. The short slowdown in the middle doesn’t last long, and Asarhaddon returns to the template of blasting and melodic riffing, something that repeats over and over on Reysa. Vocalized by a relatively high, not shrieky, yet fiery, voice, all you have to do is let yourself be washed by these harmonies and persistent rhythms. You can call this music steady, but certainly not simple, as precise execution is required to maintain tightness and weave melodic patterns. Ein wahrlich wirrer Ort can open slower and dragging, drenched in reverb, but only for 2 minutes, as the blast & melody pattern comes back again, save for a few moments of brief stops to get air. Die Vergängnis erwacht is slightly different, sounding like a clarion call to battle, but the one with a taste of tragedy, where the outcome is preordained and many participants will surely perish. Pfad ohne Kehrt is an exaltation bordering on demented optimism, also with a few quieter moments. It is surely not easy to maintain interest throughout 50+ minutes, but it is undeniable that in its best moments Reysa possesses hypnotic qualities. At the same time, when you go through multiple non-stop apotheoses, you can’t always leave a mark, so Der Aufstieg and 12 min closer Am Ende ewiger Wasser could surely use some editing.

By their lonesome every single track on Reysa is powerful, makes a statement and captivates. This is undeniably black metal, yet melodic and atmospheric music. Listened in its entirety, however, the album starts blending together somewhat and may tire you out. Just a tad more variety or shorter duration would have done wonders for me. A few weeks ago I had to invoke Quebecois black metal school with Abduction, and the reference fits for Asarhaddon as well. That, and (sadly defunct) Finnish Alghazanth or maybe Alcest, on Pfad ohne Kehrt, and I know I am stretching things a bit here.

Killing Songs :
Der Ursprung, Die Vergängnis erwacht
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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