ASVA — Live In London, September 8, 2005 (review)

ASVA — Live In London, September 8, 2005 album cover Live album · 2008 · Drone Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
renkls
Now, I present a review of the rarest album (thus far) in my collection, released in 2008 in a scant 120 copy self released pressing. Asva's only offical live album release is one 51 minute track of doom metal in their distinct style. The track is Untitled and it is purely instrumental doom metal. this will be a bit more comprehensive then usual, because this is a very obscure and hard to find album that people should know what they're getting.

Beginning with a sustained, slow building drone, then slowly adding new elements to the mixture, such as a downtuned guitar, and what sounds like keyboards, the album begins to show some life at the six minute mark, as heavy doom metal pounding riffs begin to take hold, leaving the drone far behind. The 'song' builds slowly, trudging along on its way to the ten minute mark, growing more dynamic with splashes of cymbal working their way in here and there.

Some feedbacky drone re-enters as the ten minute mark arrives, bubbling away on one sustained note once again... then back to the pounding riffs we go. They're still building up, heavy thudding drums lead the way forward. The (keyboards) begin to add some character to the riffs, slowly becoming more prominent. It's still building at 15 minutes, feedback finds its way into the mix with the doom riffs now. It's still not fully shown its teeth.

Drone is back at 17 minutes...

At 19 minutes a guitar line immersed in the drone signals a new movement. The drone remains as the riffs pick up some added feedback laced heaviness. Here's the heavy stuff now. Whilst still repetitive, it's growing in intensity still. this feels surprisingly upbeat for a doom metal piece, which isn't a bad thing - as it's got some original textures to the performance.

The drone guides the riffs forwards towards the 23 minute mark. It's growing still (a slow mover for sure, but hey, this is doom metal). The drums set an individual pattern at 24 minutes. We must be getting close now...oh, it's disappeared again. Nearly half way in. Ah, the drums emerge, clinging out like the meat of the song is about to begin. 27 minutes in. The drone proceeds... feedback whirls around untamed by the monotonous drone. 28 minutes... DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE continues. Another bubble of bass pops in for a moment. There's something coming. 30 minutes now. A riff? Or a single chord? No, somethings happening. It's building again...drum splashes...drone continues...another chord at 31 minutes...slowly getting closer together. False alarm maybe? The drone is still there. 32 minutes. Whirring sustained chord in the mix. More drum chimes. Are we there yet? 33. Now, it hits. The riffs kick in, and the drone steps back. The drone at the back sounds like an organ. It may be, I'm not sure. It's still repetitive in the doomy progression, but it's going somewhere now. 35, the riffs continue on. Onto the 36th minute and a less aggressive guitar starts strumming along, accompanied by the intrusive beat of the now comparatively heavy drums. Under fifteen minutes to go now. The organ-like ambient makes a good counterpoint to this section. 37 minutes and the doomy riffs are back in, albeit more scattered and less monotonous. It's hitting a high point now. It's whirring up, getting heavier. They're still growing, bang, bang with the drums, riff, riff with the guitar, more whirring about. It's growing unpredictable, more dynamic. 40 minutes now. It's fast for most doom, but now it's back to that guitar strumming with scattered drums. These seem to hold more purpose this time around. The organ-like ambient continues to mull beneath it. dun, dun, dun, crash, dun, dun, dun. 42 minutes. Back with the whirring guitars and drums. Under ten minutes left. It's still going as we're at 44 minutes. Feedback and drone intermingle beneath the riffs as it goes on...seems like it'll be now or never for it to make itself be heard. 45 minutes. A sustained drone...the drums splash about for a few moments...tinker, tinker, whirring feedback starts to form. The buzz of drone takes the front. It's getting noisy. I think I hear the mumbles of vocals in the mix. This is getting loud and screechy. The hum of drone, the jitters of feedback, a whirring guitar chord spins around, as the noise gathers momentum. 47 minutes, the drone is still building. drums seem to have disappeared now as the buzzy drone wails on. It whirs around inside your head for a while, content to languish in your mind. 49 minutes now and the drone continues, creaking and groaning, a high note can be made out among the heavy drone. Feedback crackles in and out, the drone wobbles and sounds like the rotors of a helicopter taking off for a moment. Drums reenter, tinkering again. 50 minutes. The drone keeps going along...the drums tinker some more...the feedback picks up again with the drone and crackles too. less then a minute left and the drone continues to build with the feedback. Sparking, crumbly noise. Screechy as the world of the album begins to end. Then silence. You can hear the applause and cheers of the audience as the band finishes.

Overall, what can I say, it was alright. Nowhere near as satisfying in build and release as say, Boris did with their debut Absolutego, but in a live setting, I'd imagine this would have been an intense experience. I gather that from the low print run this was probably only sold properly at shows, but if you're a fan of Asva, I'm sure you'd enjoy this album. For me, it was alright, nothing too spectacular or innovative in drone doom metal, but nothing so bad it warrants anything less then a 3.5.

As the rarest item in my CD collection thus far, I could have done a lot worse. If you happen across a copy, pick it up, it's a little drone doom piece worth having.
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