CD REVIEW: Asian Death Crustacean – Baikal

London experimental metal 4-piece Asian Death Crustacean have released their debut album, Baikal. It’s a showcase album, wearing their breadth of influences on their proverbial sleeves: extreme progressive metal, electronic/ambient music and underground jazz. Named after the world’s oldest and deepest lake in the vast expanses of Siberia, the album’s title was chosen to evoke a sense of exploration into an immense and unknown space of threatening beauty. Similarly, the artwork uses the motif of a sun to capture the inseparable duality of genesis and all-engulfing destruction. Deep thinkers as they are, the band see the sun invoke themes of Jungian symbolism, a journey of coming to terms with the internal dynamic tension of the many selves within one’s psyche. Got all that?

Having spent a number of years refining their highly eclectic sound and playing shows around the UK, including supporting acts such as Three Trapped Tigers, The Physics House Band and Poly-Math, the band travelled to Sweden in 2019 to finally record and mix ‘Baikal’.The album was brought to life over two weeks in the depths of a subterranean recording studio beneath Stockholm and a secluded mixing space on the wooded outskirts of Örebro with the help of David Castillo (Bloodbath, Leprous) and Jens Bogren (Opeth, Between The Buried And Me) of Fascination Street Studios.

Their music aims for similar depths of thought as their concept. An exploration of the themes of metamorphosis and self-transformation, Baikal features cyclical patterns of progression and return in a journey of intertwining aspects of order, chaos, euphoria and aggression. Each development evolves or responds to the previous, aiming for an immersive flow between unpredictable mood-swings. Hence the planned fusion of diverse musical backgrounds into a highly varied yet seemingly coherent whole, taking in ethereal ambient passages, at times reflective and playfully jazzy, but overall surging with gloom-laden heaviness.

Baikal Part II’ is the first track to be released from their debut. The band comment,“This track had its seeds in the first material we wrote together as a band and showcases the dynamic of continuous evolution and the broad sonic palette which defines the album.”Listen to ‘Baikal Part II’ now –

So, I hear you ask, what do you think of the album? Weeeeeellll I say hesitantly……it’s not one that’ll stay on my turntable, in my CD drawer or as an iPod playlist. But that’s just because of my personal preference for colourful, optimistic, clever-clever prog. What we have here and hear is a thoughtful concept, enthusiastically well-enacted, that will sit well in the modern mood. Dark, foreboding, deep and earnest, they’ll no doubt garner more support through a return to live performance in coming years. This is as good a place to start as any, and with the likes of Leprous or Anathema as guiding principle, I wish them well.

Maybe better use of the random band name generator next time though lads?

Asian Death Crustacean are:

Dan Peacock – Guitars / Sound Design

Rob Doull – Guitars

George Bunting – Bass Guitar

James Kay – Drums


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