Asylum Pyre – Fifty Years Later
Fifty Years Later
First thing I’d like to get out of the way with Asylum Pyre’s newest album, Fifty Years Later, is that your mileage may vary. This is something I’d generally apply to all my reviews, because highly as I think of myself, music is a rather subjective experience. Fifty Years Later has an imbalance: a lot of things it does quite well, and others that it does very poorly. Depending strongly on how you value these elements, you may love or hate this album, but probably will have some strong reaction. That being said, I encourage you to read on even after I say that I didn’t particularly enjoy this release.
To get the basics out of the way, Asylum Pyre is playing female-fronted metal: mostly symphonic power, but at times wandering into progressive territory. The music is very atmospheric and reminds me a lot of what I’ve heard from Wildpath at times, and that’s a good thing. The singer has a rather strong accent, which is a bummer for someone such as myself who doesn’t tend to enjoy a lot of female-fronted metal to begin with. I would be able to forgive the accent, if not for the words coming out of her mouth. The lyrics, which I usually put very little emphasis on, destroy much of my enjoyment of this album.
While I tend to be able to tune out poor lyrics, there comes a time (and I’ve hit this point before, such as with Andromeda’s Manifest Tyranny) that they become so overt, heavy handed, and stupid that it draws my attention away from whatever else is going on. This was the most evident for me on the song “These Trees”, which sounded like an all-too earnest call for worldwide tree-hugging. Never mind the merits of environmentalism or the cultural impact of music, when I approach something like symphonic metal I simply do not enjoy being torn out of my listening experienced to hear a clumsy sermon on the evils of pollution.
It’s a real shame too, because in spite of poor lyrics, the vocalist has a very strong delivery. The music is more capable than a lot of bands that simply cart out a female singer and expect to sell records as a result (I’m looking at you Skylark, but not for long, because every time I remember that you have a record deal I am filled with sadness and disappointment). Certainly worth hearing, because everything outside the lyrics is very strong.
If you’re one to really identify with ‘socially conscious’ lyrics, or more capable than I of just ignoring this type of crap, this could be a really enjoyable listen. The comparison to Wildpath is strong, I believe, and though I’d recommend listening to Wildpath before them, my issue with this album is really just a small one that takes a lot away from my experience. Some songs on the record are much more subtle and with capable use of the skip button I could probably enjoy this a lot more than I did on my numerous play throughs. It’s certainly not something I’d tell fans to avoid (and in fact, for its genre, it’s certainly passable), but just beware of what you’re getting yourself into.
Dagg’s Rating: 3.0 out of 5