Aisling - Aisling / Trath Na Gaoth [Compilation]
31 March 2006

01. Through The Eyes Of Cosmos
02. The Oracle Of Dehumanization
03. Sepulchral Council Of The Beholders
04. Misanthropic Salvation
05. Duan Amhairghine (Amergin's Challenge)
06. Crushing The Wall Of Time
07. Tir Na n'Og (Forgotten Rites)
08. Memories Of A Timeless Vision
09. Laoidhan Fogharach Na Dubhachas Agus T-Aisling Agam
10. The Shining Darkness (Omega)

Aisling is an old Gaelic word for "dream-like vision" or something like that. Aisling is also the name of an Italian Black Metal band hailing from Trieste, which was supposedly founded by some Celtic tribe about 2500 years ago. This particular band has recently signed a deal with Einheit Productions, which first of all had them remaster their previous two efforts, the eponymous album and the EP "Trath Na Gaoth", and re-released both on one CD. And to let the potential listeners know what awaits them they described the whole thing as "Extreme Celtic Folk Black Metal." So much for the theory. Let's look what's behind it, shall we?

Like nearly every other release that nowadays dares calling itself Pagan or Viking Metal, "Aisling / Trath Na Gaoth" starts with an intro. And a beautiful intro it is, with piano and synths evoking a dense haunting atmosphere. The last piano note is played at 3:21 and WHAM!, off we go into the spheres of blackness. A mere four seconds later an awry look appears on the reviewer's face, coincidentally the same moment when the vocals kick in. Those primitive harsh vocals are surely something you need to get used to, they sound more than anything else like a crow with a sore throat trying to growl. Nonetheless you do get used to them rather soon, and you'll learn to appreciate them even more once the clean vocals make their appearance… those, both male and female, aren't really bad when sung during the fast-paced black metal parts, but during the calmer passages they sound rather pathetic. This makes especially the non-metal song "Duan Amhairghine" pretty dispensable.

But enough about the vocals, let's take a look at the other instruments. The guitars are practically all over the place with a clear production that bestows them with lots of power and pressure. Reading older reviews of the non-remastered versions the production seemed to have been the weakest part before - whoever was responsible for the remastering seems to have done a good job there. Buzzing along with your generic black metal riffs and a melodic lead here and there the guitars, paired with the vocals, manage to create an atmosphere of evilness and coldness, especially when occassionally the motif of the intro is integrated into the riffs. The drums and the bass do their part, but fail to impress. At least you can hear the bass, which isn't all that ordinary for black metal productions. The keyboards are omnipresent, but in the background most of the time, unless they're used to play the pipes or flutes or whatever Aisling have built in to still be able to call their style Celtic Folk Metal.

In fact these folky passages, consisting of acoustic guitars, cellos, flutes and pipes, are one of the weakest parts of the music. While they sound great in some songs ("Tir Na n'Og", "Memories Of A Timeless Vision"), their usage appears somewhat laboured and constructed many times, just integrated for the sake of it, not caring whether they fit or not, resulting in all-too sudden breaks. This makes otherwise good songs ("The Oracle Of Dehumanization", "Misanthropic Salvation") drop a lot in quality, especially since those passages are often combined with the clean male vocals I've mentioned earlier already. That these non-fitting breaks aren't only the "fault" of the band's need to emphasize their "folkyness" is proved pretty well by "The Shining Darkness", which makes a full stop at 2:27; whatever the sense of that may be, the only effect it has is kill atmosphere, something the band is otherwise quite good at creating.

So all in all this leaves me with the impression that the band has quite some talent, but isn't able to consistently make proper use of it yet. While the overall atmosphere and the individual instruments are very good, the merging of the different parts appears rather laboured. When Aisling manage to compensate those songwriting deficiencies and improve the vocals the band might reach new heights. Songs like "Tir Na n'Og" and "Memories Of A Timeless Vision" are now already highly recommendable without any objections and raise hope for the band's future.

The Oracle Of Dehumanization
The Shining Darkness (Omega)

Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Band profile: Aisling
Album: Aisling / Trath Na Gaoth


Written on 01.06.2006 by
Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.
More reviews by Promonex ››


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Ace - 01.06.2006 at 20:36  
I would have given definitly less...this is just terribly bad.
Promonex - 01.06.2006 at 23:09  
I've read many different opinions about this album ranging from total disgust to total euphoria. I personally found it somewhat enjoyable, not enjoyable enough to give it anything over 7.5 though.

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