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Review: Askival - Eternity

Label: Darker than Black Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 64:43
Tracks: 10
Genre: Folk Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: September 21, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating


Folk Metal from Scotland's one-man band Askival is what we've got here on their debut, Eternity. And being from the land of my forefathers, I was fairly stoked to check this out. This is Folk Metal of the blackened vocals/melodic Heavy Metal vein. Eternity is rife with traditional instruments (or synthesizers that sound like flutes, bagpipes, etc.) and softer, almost peaceful songs mixed in with the harsh, raspy screams and riffing of lone member Tuagh.

Eternity starts off with some promise. After the opening instrumental, "Gathering of the Clans," Tuagh launches into the bombastic "Last March of the White Wolves." Sadly, around the 4 minute mark, things start to go downhill quickly. "Last March of the White Wolves" is over 15 minutes long and at that 4 minute mark, Tuagh shifts from raspy screams to whispered vocals and acoustic guitar. That wouldn't be bad, except it lasts for the next 11 minutes. Sure the guitars get heavier and the drums come back, but by the time they do, Eternity seems a very fitting title for the record, indeed. Tuagh sticks with the softer, keyboard and traditional instrument driven songs with the exception of ass-kickers "Forged in the Fires of Alba," a song with a great, marching beat, "Legion of the Wotan" and "Whispers in the Breeze." Those slower songs, while beautiful, especially "Field of Thistles & Ancient Echoes," just don't drive the album or generate much excitement. The result is that Eternity is a somewhat dull overall listening experience.

Per the band's MySpace page, Askival are no more due to "lack of interest in the music" and I can sort of understand why. I wanted to like Eternity, I really did, but it is just crushed beneath its own atmospheric ambiance.

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