Sculpting From Time by AsphodelusRelease date: August 25, 2023
Label: Hammerheart Records
It is a fine line between being influenced by, and just plain imitation. Finns Asphodelus are toying with that knife-edge here on the second album Sculpting From Time, with Katatonia circa 1993 proving to be the primary object of their obsession. That time was, of course, a rich vein for a new wave of death and doom metal, and there is just enough else bleeding through here to ensure it is not immediately discarded as pure idolatry.
There is still plenty of fun to be found in this particular blooming of misery. The sweeps of snow-covered forests and endless nights form the backdrop for some pretty catchy riffs, both fast and slow. The changes in pace are impressive, rarely feeling forced or ill-judged, and are timed well to keep the record moving along at a fair tick.
Rife as it is with darkness and a profound sense of desolation, Sculpting From Time also has the feeling that the Asphodelus are genuinely enjoying themselves. Emphasised by the self-deprecating woe of Jari Filppu’s vocals (albeit alarmingly similar to Jonas Renkse’s early nineties cries), their love for the music that they are both playing and that has inspired it creeps around the edges of the gloom.
Sculpting From Time is a fun diversion into the realms of nostalgia, yet the lack of any noticeable originality from Asphodelus leaves it ultimately feeling hollow. Maybe one day they will grow into a sound of their own, but alas that day is not today.