ASCHENGLAS, Von Toten Gesungen (2006, demo)

The skull:
Though it looks a bit like a one-toothed baby monkey fashioned out of play-doh, I assume this is meant to be a human skull, placed as it is in a Catholic reliquary. Perhaps this is the skull of St. George. Not that one. I’m talking about St. George the Lesser, patron saint of curiosity. A pagan native of Africa, St. George was converted to Christianity and brought to the new world by a flamboyant missionary known more for his outlandish raiments than his piety. Though the earliest recorded deeds of George include a litany of criminal offenses, he would eventually assume the role of comforter and aid-giver, and was canonized for, among other works, miraculously curing a terminally ill little girl, although some scholars continue to maintain that the little girl was going to be discharged from the hospital anyway, and was in fact only there to have her tonsils removed. He was ultimately martyred by grown-ups whose places of business were destroyed during one of the saint’s periodic outbursts of mayhem. George was captured, bound, and finally murdered by lethal injection after biting a small boy, even though the boy dared George to do it, and even though the wound was a minor one. Today, the faithful pray to George for aid in focusing on boring tasks and avoiding the temptation to leap out windows to chase ducks.

The music:
Say what you will about BDS metal, but at least it’s usually not goth metal. Usually. Aschenglas defies the stereotype of BDSers as racist Frenchmen producing terrible black metal in their parents’ attic. Indeed, Aschenglas is the one-man bedroom project of a lonely Austrian who moans in German about the awful beauty of nature, probably. Musically pitched somewhere between Crematory and Type O Negative, Von Toten Gesungen is overwrought and ponderous, not to mention cheap-sounding. At least one song prominently features synthesized shawm. Though this demo is not entirely incompetent, it is mostly dull and comically pretentious. And, according to Metal Archives, “[t]wo songs feature programmed guitars only, although it is unknown which ones.” Now, there’s a first.
— Friar Johnsen