Release Date: 16/10/2020
Written by James Sweetlove
Are you ready to start your day with a Swedish black metal demo? I hope so, because this morning we are discussing Åskog and their upcoming demo Varg, which will be independently released on October 16th in partnership with Qabar PR.
The band formed this year, when Lars (vocals and bass) and Adam (guitars) disbanded their previous project and decided to take things in a different direction. They created Åskog, a band that plays a blend of black, doom and heavy metal with some death metal influences. They brought on session drummer Rod B to complete their lineup and sound.
Lars purchased a delapedated farm house in the woods of Varmland and the band based their theme on the elements that they felt there. The harshness of the Swedish wilderness inspired them to write music about how unforgiving and dark nature can be.
Covid gave them an opportunity to get to writing without interuption and a number of songs were written between July and August, with an album taking shape. So the band decided to put together this demo to showcase what will be coming next year when their full length album drops.
So lets look at the music. In total the demo has three tracks, (two that are going to be available digitally and one that will only feature on the cassette version). Including the third track the album comes in at roughly 14:20 so not a bad length for a demo.
We open with the demo’s title track Varg, the longest on the release, coming in at 5:45. The band manages to work plenty of diversity into this period of time. The vocals are purely black metal in nature, they’re raw, harsh and grating in the best way possible. They’re also mixed at a perfect volume where they’re not drowned out by the music at all, but also don’t overshadow it. Guitar wise we get a fantastic blend between melodic black metal, heavy metal and doomier elements. What really stands out to me though is the segment at 3:40 where the guitar becomes the audio equivalent of a swarm of locusts and takes on a true horror movie sound, before giving way to short truly doomy segment. Drums and bass wise we get a solid offering from both on this track, matching the energy of the guitar and vocals.
Track 2 Korp comes in at 4:19 and is much more of a straight forward black metal track. There’s some great guitar work on this release with a killer solo at around the 2:53 mark with some real shredding present. The vocals are equally as raw and powerful as the first track and theres a cool echoing effect used on them at 3:31.
Track 3 Vatten (which will only be on the cassette version) comes in at 4:08 and continues the album’s more black metal streak. The guitar work on this one is a little more technical though and slightly more on the melodic side. At 2:12 we get a break into some heavy metal guitar work and another killer solo that lasts a good 30 seconds.
Overall this is a truly solid demo and it makes me excited to see what the band has to offer when their full length album drops next year. If you want some great black metal then check this demo out. The first track is available for streaming now, which is lucky because in my opinion in its the most solid song on the release.
Listen and pre-order below: