Asperity - The Final Demand
The story of the formation of Swedish based Asperity began when drummer Stefan Westerberg and guitarist/keyboarder Petri Kuusisto (both also ex In Thy Dreams) took the decision to leave Steel Attack and solely put their concentration on their principal band, Carnal Forge. But the desire to play other metal than the death/thrash of C F was still there and the duo started to write new non-thrash/death material again. After some time two more musicans, Peter Kronberg and Johan Jalonen joined the new project and the band Asperity was born. An untitled demo was recorded, the band signed with Arise Records, and here we have their premiere metal offering, The Final Demand.
The album compiles music that best can be described as a blend between heavy and power metal of the basic school in the veins of above all other Swedish acts like Tad Morose and Dream Evil and their kind of groovy metal style but expressed in a more "modern" kind of way. The for me new man holding the microphone position (and bass), Peter Kronberg, has a set of pipes that in many aspects resemble Niclas Isfeldt of Dream Evil but Kronberg's got a slightly more powerful delivery and I'd even go as far as stating that he's close to a band trademark and also a notch better than his D E counterpart. And of curse his team-mates also handle their musical professions with the honours. The great visceral flourishes of keyboards provided by Peter Kuusisto blanket and permeate the whole album and the twin guitar assault by him and his partner in crime, Johan Jalonen, combines fast and heavy riffing, highly melodic intros, rhythmic verse sections, some real nice harmony duelling and also a satisfying amount of finger-frazzling solo segments.
Considering the tracks and how they're being executed, the basic construction of as good as every number on the album follows along a quite simple but still very enjoyable and effective formula. After a melodic intro that shifts between mid- to up-tempo a slower verse section follows, usually supported by emotional keyboards. Then the speed escalades when the bridge/chorus section gets introduced and especially considering this build-up very strong older Tad Morose (two first albums in particular) vibes instantly appear but once the accelerator is hit, there are also quite pronounced Steel Attack and Dream Evil references raging throughout. The bridge/chorus parts are almost extremely melodic and catchy and reach levels of very high infectious status. And then the three basic cornerstones in Asperity's sound landscape have been covered; excellent vocals, bridges and choruses of very sing-along character and impressive instrument streaks in every position.
The production is tight, crisp and clear without compromising on either heaviness or force and the album's got a very pleasant and easy-going digestible sound that really goes with the music provided. But as usual there are departments where there's room for some innovation and improvement according to this reviewer. The song-writing could have seen some ,pre versatility and I also wish that some solo features could have been a little more elongated since some real awesome ones end a bit too quickly. Further, the album perhaps lacks some real kick-in-the-face explosive outings that stand up more proudly from the rest of the numbers in the catalogue. This ultimately leads to that you pretty much know and grasp the entire deal already after the first couple of spins. Besides this, there isn't much to complain about really and Asperity is yet another Swedish band that delivers strong and highly melodic heavy/power metal and once again the death/thrash veterans prove that they master other metal genres as well.
So if bands like especially Tad Morose and Dream Evil
are among your preferred listening choices, Asperity is definitely worth
putting in prospect. This solid debut supplies plenty of joyful moments
and I sincerely hope that this wasn't a onetime project but a real band
that we can expect much more from in the future. The Final Demand is
out there waiting and serves as a very potent introduction to this new
act and to the Swedish melodic metal lineage in general!