Asian Death Crustacean – Baikal: Album Review

London four-piece, Asian Death Crustacean, release a debut record that takes us on a switchback from prog metal to electronic and ambient references in a sprawling and enthralling six-part composition.

Release Date: 26th June 2020

Label: self-released

Formats: DL

For the record (and for trivia buffs) Baikal is the name of the world’s oldest and deepest lake located in the vast expanses of Siberia. An attempt to evoke, in a single word, a sense of exploration into an immense and unknown space that provides the simultaneous contrast of beauty and threat. A perfect exercise in the search for an alternative to those early trippy Pink Floyd days.

However, Baikal is barely what you’d label as ‘trippy’. The album combines a wide range of influences from extreme progressive metal to electronic/ambient music and they even quote the London underground jazz scene on the themes of metamorphosis and self-transformation. All sounds very intense and the ideal backdrop for musical exploration.

Of course there are challenges in an all-instrumental album. Created and crafted in the depths of a subterranean recording studio beneath Stockholm and a secluded mixing space on the wooded outskirts of Örebro might give an indication of the how the environment influenced the atmosphere for musical creation.

Baikal subsequently unfolds in what the band calls “cyclical patterns of progression and return.” We encounter a journey through aspects of order, chaos, euphoria and aggression as each intertwines and reacts against the other. The band’s diverse musical backgrounds emerge as a varied yet coherent and overarching symphony.

Each of the six parts has it’s own signature. Introduced, naturally, with a celestial atmosphere, Part 1 gives an indication of what’s to come with a shrillness and thunder of percussion that hints that there are going to be some rough paths to walk. It’s not dissimilar to Part II where the soft/loud, light/brutal contrasts are maintained. Never remaining in a settled place, always aware that the gears could suddenly change, the turn of a corner or the shift of a chord

The peaks and troughs keep the listener on the edge of the seat. Various parts start to stand out; the gentle guitar doodling that leads into a huge menacing marching riff towards the end of Part III, the otherworldy ambience of Part IV and Part VI where the calm remains unspoilt. The latter parts sandwich the ten minute Part V where boxes are ticked at a rate of knots. The ominous dark metal opening broods unhealthily, never offering any remorse or respite. Nightmarish qualities are strewn randomly and it feels a relief to finally get the release that comes in the final few moments.

Listen to Baikal Pt II here:

You can read the Why I Love Om feature written for us by Asian Death Crustacean drummer James Kay here

Asian Death Crustacean online: Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp

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