Absurd Asgardsrei: possibly the worst re-issue in metal

absurd_-_asgardsrei

In 1998, a few black metal musicians — many of whom faced legal troubles in their home countries — came together to make a recording. The result, Asgardsrei, captured black metal in transition: its epic past, its roots in punk merged with Oi, and its tackling of unpopular subject matter, in this case out-of-the-closet NSBM.

This form of music differed NSBMTM that was to follow which meant exclusively Drudkh-style droning sugar-substitute melodies and battle-related titles with neo-Romantic lyrics:


Alone I wander
Wastelands of the soul
Among the corpses and ash
A single flower rises
Kill the Jews with fire

Absurd back in the day combined a poetic style that might be called “immaturism,” a wide-ranging complaint with the modern world, and yes, some rather violent ideas. It defied categorization. Their debut album, Facta Loquuntur, sounded at times like ultra-simplistic punk with lyrics from a child’s point of view, pointing out not policy failures or physical breakdown in Western society, but its completely backward spirit and denial of all existential importance. Always on the edge of black metal, Absurd both increased the discernible Oi/RAC influence and put together more black metal style riffing, creating a hybrid that kept both voices without allowing the extremes of either to take over.

Fast-forward to 2012. Absurd — now with none of the 1999 members — re-issues Asgardsrei in a new form. As it is arguably the most musically interesting album from Absurd, combining the raw forest metal (this is the band that wrote “Green Heart” after all) with greater proficiency and alertness, it could be a big seller for this band. Unfortunately, they decided to under guise of a re-master actually alter this album. First they turned up the guitars and turned down keyboards, background sounds, etc. They replaced the subtle intro with patriotic bluster and industrial percussion. Then they either modified or added drums to give the album a constant kick-happy Oi beat. Finally, they modified vocals to sound more like the recent Oi/metal hybrid the band has been putting out. The result crushed all subtlety and made this album very much the exact thing this band in its original form would have recoiled at.

Thuringian plain, deep dark forest
Evil dwells on there in the woods
Snowcovered hills, cold winds blowing
Romantic place, is it understood ?!

Evil in the forest in Germany’s Green Heart !

Hateful savages, strong black minds
Out of the forest, kill the human kind
Burn the settlements and grow the woods
Until this romantic place is understood !

12 thoughts on “Absurd Asgardsrei: possibly the worst re-issue in metal”

  1. Cynical says:

    It’s worth noting that this one has been re-issued multiple times. The 2006 reissue didn’t have the sound touched at all, and it’s the one you want.

    1. Thanks, I missed that one.

  2. Richard Head says:

    Funny (or not) how I have never, ever in the whole internet, read a mention of Absurd without NatSoc being brought up within a sentence or two, even in DMU articles. I’ve even seen conversations about Burzum take place without someone accusing Varg of racism. But never Absurd; they are known for/identified with NatSoc far before their actual musical style or ability. This makes me wonder if they wouldn’t have faded into the past within just a couple years if they didn’t cling to that insignia of ultimate edginess that is NatSoc. By the wat did I mention that Absurd plays NSBM?

    1. Jim says:

      Without the racism, they might be remembered for how hilariously incompetent their first album is. They were like the shaggs of BM

    2. Meek Metalhead says:

      Absurd has nothing on Grand Belial’s Key.

      1. G says:

        I always thought the archives’ vaguely negative attitude toward that band was one of their big mistakes (along with throwing shade at Venom). “Mocking…” feels cryptic and ancient, has riffs for days, has a strong organic handling of mood, is full of cruel unpretentious metal SPIRIT… what’s not to love?

    3. dawn says:

      Without the Nazi politics, the murder of Sandro Beyer, or the extensive coverage in the Lords of Chaos book, Absurd would have gone exactly nowhere.

  3. mightypeniz says:

    Some people can’t get past the nazi thing (or make a personal point of not getting past it, which is fine too), but statements about their lack of musical skill kinda miss the point. The first album was a punk album, through and through, and musical prowess is absolutely secondary to the bile and conviction the music is played with. Like a lot of euro punk, there is some deceptively good songs played with rabid, bestial (abeit hyena rather than lion) fervour.

    Back on topic, the remaster/re-edit is woeful!

    GBK is awesome, but its like comparing apples & oranges.

  4. Disspointed long time raader says:

    Nah. The new remaster sounds about 5 times better than the original abortion.

    …’Deep’ reviews of relatively stupid 80’s films that the author feels a subjective nostalgia for, an article lamenting the death of an obviously lonely, mal-adated, possible mentally unstable young drop-kick who joined ISIS, and now the support of childish, utterly shitty punk music that gets the black metal ‘tick’ simply because it is NS.

    What the fuck, man.

  5. Satanachia hates punk! says:

    If I remember correctly, the drums in the remastered version were completely redone by cutting and pasting from the original drum track(s). I deeply resent the decision to leave out the disco beats in Germanien Über Alles, but other than that I’m completely fine with both the idea and the implementation. I still rather listen to the original though, despite the remaster possibly being closer to what the record was meant to sound like. Asgardsrei sounds horrible, and it’s one of my favorite black metal records both despite and because of this fact, and same goes for many other classics. Veles band member said “something went wrong in the studio” when asked why Black Hateful Metal sounds so weird, and playing that record is always a very intense experience. Judas Iscariot’s records lessened in impact as Andrew Harris’ ultra atavistic drumming improved. The list goes on.

    And as for people always bringing up politics/NS when talking about Absurd, I’ve always felt that it’s because the majority of people interested in black metal can’t handle the band. Absurd is too unusual, too ugly, too honest, too primitive both musically and lyrically.

    1. Richard Head says:

      Or maybe they are just laughably underdeveloped in comparison to Immortal, Bathory, Emperor, and dozens of other bands that cares enough about their music to practice their instruments. If you record music, there is no excuse for playing it like shit. Early Minor Threat records are less embarrassing to listen to than Absurd.

      Ildjarn’s music is ugly, honest, and primitive, but it is performed that way with intention. Absurd are just inexcusably incapable.

  6. I dig Absurd’s Asgardsrei. Initially when hearing about them and skinheads were into it, figured it might not be metal enough or catchy enough, but was wrong. Great band, but not for everyone.
    Websites and forums that think they will deter listeners by bringing up NSBM type “slagging” are doing everybody a favour, as many will never support communist / left-wing / international socialist bands, and the opposite end of politics looks much more agreeable.
    HEIL HYDRA !
    Destroy S.H.I.E.L.D.
    :)

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