HistoryAsguard was formed in 1996 in Mogilyov, Belarus as Ancient Castle by Afonchenko Alexander, Tselobenok Andrey and Krotov Alexander. The band issued the 1997 tape In The Darkness Of The Night through Fatal Ecstasy Productions. Summis Desiderantes Effectibus followed in 2000 on Bloodhead Productions. An American contract followed with Devil Doll and its subsidiary This Dark Reign. The band played at the Metallection Fest and Metal Crowd festivals in 2005. Asguard put together a tenth anniversary package for 2006. The band wanted the special package to include a DVD, a book and a special audio CD.
ASGUARD - WIKKA - THIS DARK REIGN
Asguard hails from Belarus and has managed to get a North American release for its EP and some elusive demo material through This Dark Reign Recordings. Given how the band has been doing the rounds for nine years one would have expected more skill and competence in musicianship and composition. Instead, Asguard's music is basic and often monotonous. There are many concerns with Wikka. The treble speed metal is often Classically-based, but the band's music is simple and the growls unconvincing. Songs like The Ancient Track are a waste of time either going on with acoustic guitars and growls, in this case, or like song number thirteen just being plain weak and thin in sound. The drums rattle in a feeble manner and, despite some good melodies, the rhythms and riffs frustrate with their desultory designs. Asguard has to spend time working on its abilities and compositional skills. Why an American label would seek out a band like this to license is a mystery - like the slurping sound at the end of The Vision Of Dream - as Asguard has some way to go before becoming good enough to be considered respectable. - Anna Tergel
ASGUARD - DREAMSLAVE - THIS DARK REIGN
Just a scant two months after reviewing Asguard's previous album, entitled Wikka, here comes 2005's Dreamslave. The licensing American record company obviously must have been pacing the albums for American release and trying to avoid issuing both simultaneously. This is a wise move because Dreamslave is a superior record to its predecessor. The sound is still weak by Metallian standards, but the band's music is more interesting and less monotonous. The band takes its Dimmu Borgir and Dissection fancy and mixes elements of fantasy and theatre in order to create its music. Moreover, the Belarus act harbours distinct vintage metal influences which often come to the fore. Listen to the solo on Last Day Of The Real Existence, for instance. The weak pop instrumentation is still present, although the group has sharpened its approach by attempting to minimize the commercialism. The album is a story in four acts and comes with compelling artwork and shows the band is on the right path. - Anna Tergel