I’ve been on a post-black metal binge right now and let me tell you, I regret absolutely nothing. The stylistic fringes are doing some great things right now, perhaps feeding off of the general momentum black metal seems to have in 2017. As part of this slew of new bands, UK based Asira have carved something of their own niche within my rotation. I’ve seen black metal tinged with almost everything but progressive rock is a new one for me. That’s exactly what Efference does though: into the dream-y tremolo riffs and weighty blastbeats, it injects raw, treble focused solos that best belong on a Led Zeppelin album. Alongside, it also includes clean vocals and ambient sections which remind one of King Crimson or Yes. Yeah, I know, right? Head on below for your listen
Linking one track wouldn’t really have worked here, so I had to go for the first “couplet” on the album. “Crucible of Light” does a good job of getting across the post black metal side of things; it explodes quickly into furious riffing and that overall sound that’s become the staple of post-Deafheaven era post black metal. So far, so good; the track is certainly good but, beyond some touches of clean vocals, there’s nothing super radical here. However, the beginnings of the title track should give you more than you bargained. Subtle buildup leads to a first six minutes or so that remind us of Porcupine Tree for example with its lightly strummed guitars, choirs and deep vocals.
But near the end of the track, the lead guitar explodes into a marvelous solo, based described as a 70’s Telecaster influenced solo. You know that sound, the high brilliance, shrill sound of the great guitarists of the dawn of progressive rock’s golden age that played in bands like Wishbone Ash. It fits so well here, even with the more black metal segments that come before and after it. Nor are these all of the tools in Asira’s kit: further towards the end there are a lot of “empty” spaces, dark ambient segments and meditative passages. In short, it’s one of the more interesting records I’ve had the pleasure to hear from this sub-genre. It takes a long time to fully grasp it, I don’t think I have yet, not fully, but the journey towards it is a joy. Take the first step!