Quite recently I got in touch with George ‘Solaris Lupus’, the guy behind Aspaarn. Aspaarn is a Swiss solo-outfit that released two full length and two mini releases until now. This review will deal with the debut, because, dixit the soul behind it, ‘it is the genesis of the project and by far the most instinctive and spontaneous’. That’s a good reason for focusing on that first recording.
I do not know where this material got recorded (which studio; probably this guy's home-studio), but I do know that Solaris Lupus took care of the full recording and the production himself at the very beginning of 2021. The material was originally pressed on ‘normal’ vinyl (i.e. black vinyl 12” format; with inner sleeve, including the lyrics) in an edition of 200 copies (there are still some copies available; you can find the Bandcamp-link for Aspaarn below). Besides, Asgard Hass Productions took care of a tape-edition, which is, evidently, limited too (100 copies). The latter, by the way, was remixed for this Swiss label exclusively, and comes with a rougher sound. There are no compact-discs (yet?) available. Oh yes: the artwork is quite apart too, also created by the mastermind behind this project himself.
What Aspaarn brings is a mostly raw, unpolished form of timeless Black Metal in its purest form. For more than forty minutes, Ancestral Genocides stands for, and I quote, ‘a chilling journey into a violent and primitive universe’. Well, ‘chilling’, ‘violent’ and ‘primitive’; I think it does fit to the whole album. Opener The Primordial Offering starts ultimately dark and dense. The introduction is based on an extremely haunting and horrific form of Ambient, with doomed drones, bleak waves and bizarre beats. After two minutes, however, things turn into the ‘core’ of Aspaarn’s raison d’être: primal Black Metal!
As said, the approach is primal and raw. That has to do with the sound quality in the first place. The production is truly primitive, raspy and ferocious, even pristine. The total lack of any surgically clean adornment drenches this whole experience into a monument of bile and sulfur, of revulsion and bitterness. Modernistic purists might dislike this lack of aural decency, yet those who like their meat still bloody won’t be disappointed by this somewhat inferior sound-quality. Besides, this specific approach does not work if the sound would be too clean.
Anyway, there is a huge variation in tempo and structure. When it comes to the speed, well, the better part is intense and quite up-tempo oriented, yet a few fragments are slower, while some others touch the border of lightning-fast energy. That variety in structure, then again, is divers, with, for example, some well-thought acoustic intermezzos. Take Afloat The Ocean Of Human Nothingness, for instance, with a mesmeric, gloomy (semi) acoustic passage as from half of the track. Another remarkable element are some of the leads, which do have a psychoid, modestly avant-gardist attitude. Yet above all: the hypnotic elements are astounding when represented. Take the lengthy (ten minutes of duration) hymn On The Way To The Forefathers, for example, which contains some dazing segments, seemingly accompanying the listener’s senses towards otherworldly dimensions.
Imprimis, this stuff is intolerant, militant, and arrogant. The main textures are melodious and rhythmic, with the voices and guitars as protagonists. The vocal timbre of Solaris Lupus comes with an eerie, semi-hollow and little reverberating coldness, like distant howls echoing through misty valleys. At least as nasty are the lead guitars, rough yet harmonious, pungent yet enthralling. The supportive guitar leads often have a little repetitive nature, but the solos and managing leads, then again, unveil a sense of innovative creativity. All this gets brutally yet organically backed by a gargantuan rhythm section, consisting of advanced yet dissonant rhythm and bass guitars, and a venturous / vigorous percussion / drum section. It’s here that the minor sound quality might cause the most pitiful, forlorn shame, because I do miss the sound of the drums as part of the whole story, because several drum patterns are truly outstanding.
Overall, vigour and authority are keywords to define this auspicious effort. If the sound-quality was just little more advanced (as said: not, ever, too bright either), with a more balanced mix and production, then… Ah, never mind; this material is recommendable for sure!