Asofy is one of those one-man projects made so possible by modern technology and rendered so ubiquitous by the Internet. Want to write and record your own songs? It’s affordable and straightforward to do, and a lot of my favourite ‘bands’ are actually lone individuals doing their own thing. Some great music can result, and we’ve reaped the rewards of this with projects like Myrkgrav and Falkenbach, to name just two. That said, doing everything yourself has its risks: just as your heart can sink when you pick up a film and it’s written, directed, edited and produced by the same person, there is a danger that a lack of feedback from others can curtail the quality of the project. It can mean immense clarity of vision or it can mean unmitigated self-interest. But what about the band in question?
Asofy has been in existence since 2001, albeit leaving long gaps between releasing anything, but they’re an unknown quantity to me; it’s actually twelve years since the first and last full-length release, and Percezione is the first Asofy-only release in some years too since a Sleeping Village split back in 2010. First impressions, upon listening to opening track Luminosità, were that this is a competent though rather unpolished, raw-sounding black/doom metal. Where things start to get more interesting is when Tryfar introduces vocals into the mix; I was expecting a doom growl, or maybe your standard black metal rasp, but I got neither. The vocals in Luminosità are very jagged and harsh, and throughout the album Tryfar varies his style in such a way that keeps the album interesting. There are some beautiful guitar melodies here, although the song begins to unravel through becoming rather repetitive. It’s just a bit too long, and although atmospheric, that mood is jeopardised a little by this repetition.
However, as the second track gets underway, we get much more depth without sacrificing mood. Saturazione moves from doom into black metal, keeps the melody but layers some unusual vocals over the top. Ombra, the next track, goes somewhere else entirely. It’s similar to Filosofem-era Burzum in places (another one-man band, and not one I generally rate, although I do have a soft spot for Filosofem). The spoken lyrics and the guitar sound is reminiscent of Dunkelheit. As you might expect, there’s very little doomy elements in this track. We don’t return to the plangent doom which opened the album until the final track, Oscurita, so that by the end of the album, we seem to have come full circle.
Asofy doesn’t necessarily meld the doom and black metal elements on their sound; rather these are visited in turn, which I have to admit is interesting, although at a few stages this was perplexing (though never boring). As Asofy sticks with his native Italian for titles and lyrics, there is of course an element of the band getting lost in translation (or not translated at all) but overall this is a worthwhile listen: where the album is in danger of coming apart, it follows this up with something engaging and different, and that kept me on side. Hopefully Asofy won’t wait so long before the next release, as there is a lot to build on here. [7/10 – KERI O’SHEA]