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Asceta — Erebus: La Suite de las Sombras
(Azafrán Media no#, 2023, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-05-25

Erebus: La Suite de las Sombras Cover art

Certainly one of the best surprises of 2022 was the self-titled debut album by Chilean chamber-rock octet Asceta, establishing the band as something of an Art Zoyd of the southern hemisphere. Here, a little over a year later, their second album, Erebus: La Suite de las Sombras, has arrived, and I’m happy to report that there is no sophomore slump; the seven tracks herein, presumably all composed by guitarist, flutist, and multi-instrumentalist Rodrigo Maccioni, are everything that fans of that debut release would want to hear. I must confess that the sound files for the album were sent to me in advance, though without any additional background information. Recent photos of the band show only seven members now: cello, violin, drums, bass, bass clarinet, bassoon, and Maccioni, who plays guitars, flute, synthesizers, and just about everything else one can think of; the piano player seems to be missing from the group photo, but there is plenty of piano to be heard on nearly all the tracks, so perhaps he is now operating as a guest player with the group. While there isn’t a dull moment anywhere on the album, the centerpiece is the twelve-minute “El Hereje y el Devoto, Profanos y Arcanos,” a composition that seems to search endlessly, always covering new ground, moving quickly, moving slowly, but never wasting time on repeated thoughts. The dark and pensive “Pseudofonía del Tormento” opens gently, though quickly finds its cadence with drums and strings, and like all of the other pieces here, it never reprises, just keeps moving forward, exploring what’s ahead without looking back. “Por Dobre Mi Cadáver” takes a more playful approach, a piece that will surprise the listener with all of its twists, turns, and somersaults. So far, chamber-rock of this high caliber has been mostly a European thing, although I’m happy to see it spreading out across the globe, and Asceta has the compositional ferocity and overall excellence to remain engaging across a hundred plays or more.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Asceta

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