Asperity - The Final Demand 2004 Arise Records reviewed by: EC
1.Will They Come 2.Pleasure And Pain 3.The Pray 4.Soul Collector 5.I'll Never Understand 6.Final Demand 7.Man With 1,000 Faces 8.Past Life 9.Rebellion 10.My Sad Eyes 11.I Don't Believe In Love (Queensryche) Jap Bonus Track
Asperity is the new band formed from current Carnal Forge members Stefan Westerberg and Petri Kuusisto, with "The Final Demand" being the group's first effort. This debut is a rather flawless, catchy mass of widely appealing power metal, in the same vein as Dream Evil and Hammerfall, without getting caught up in the woods of elves, dragons, and magical wizards, instead letting great songs flow on their own merit, picking up the nod to 80s hard rock ala Dokken and Whitesnake, but keeping that fast pace of modern bands like Stratovarius, and believe you me, these death veterans can keep this stuff HEAVY.
I have never been a huge fan of death metal, and it worried me some to know that Carnal Forge members were involved with Asperity. From the first track I was carried away, as opener "Will They Come" is a splendid yet eerie foray into the landscape of modern power metal, a lot like fellow Swedish act Dream Evil, but having a unique feel to it that I find hard to explain here. It rocks like 80's Dokken, with George Lynch styled groove, but at the same time keeping it rather cold and dark, like Finland's Sentenced. It's just a great mesh of all things metal really.
Vocalist Peter Kronberg is a rather safe singer, but he doesn't just go middle of the road here, mixing it up quite nicely with clean, operatic vocals and some nice mid-range touches. Songs like "Pleasure And Pain" and "The Pray" are almost lyrically like Bad Company or even the Eagles (haha!) but they keep it heavy and stable, dishing out the heavy solos with occasional double bass. I love it! Other songs like "Soul Collector" are fine pieces of music, displaying plenty of twin guitar harmony, overlapping again that wonderful 80's feel and driving home the emphasis on tradition and catchy song structures.
My favorite tracks here are "Rebellion", a clever little spaghetti-western theme that tells a gritty story of loss and revenge, and the fast paced title track "Final Demand", with its heavy German accent all the way from Sweden.
Asperity really can hit the highs and lows of all things metal, whether its 80's style hard rock and power or the modern sounds of the today's genre, Asperity can play it. I really hope this is more than just a simple side project, as the material on "The Final Demand" really deserves to be expanded on. I think there is always a time and place for this, especially since so much quality and musicianship is involved in creating such a memorable work of art.
Tight, accurate, and precise, the perfect album for fans of Hammerfall, Dream Evil, Warlord, and Iron Fire. Highly recommended!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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