ASVA are probably my favourite of the ‘Drone/Doom’ (whatever) bands out there, SUNN O)) coming a very close second, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on this release. Formed a few years ago by Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Goatsnake…and I think he was a part of SUNN O)) at one point as well?), and featuring such names as Trey Spruance (Secret Chiefs 3, Mr Bungle) and the oddly named B.R.A.D. (Burning Witch), this is quite the ‘super-group’.
In their debut album, Futurists Against the Ocean, ASVA took the slow cue from bands like Earth and then added their own, very unique flavour. In this record that blueprint was dusted off and added to, giving a much more individual feel to each track. At points far more sinister and claustrophobic than it’s predecessor, at others faster and more urgent. Spruance’s influence on this record feels a lot greater as well, the varied instrumentation, and what sounds like alternate tunings at some points.
The standout track on this record is the incredible ‘A Trap for Judges’, which lurches slowly like a grim leviathan nearing some awful, unearthly climax (and can be downloaded from the Southern site here). If you’re interested in testing the ‘Drone’ waters then this is the perfect introduction, both nightmare inducing and oddly positive at the same time, love it!