Asrai - Touch In The Dark

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Transmission
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:51:00

One of the clichés of Gothic Metal is a band with a female singer, often a classical trained vocalist, wearing a dress, while the rest of the band wears a black outfit. Transmission now brings a new release of a band who does not fit this cliché and yet has all the looks of a Gothic Metal band: Asrai. Surprisingly enough, this band has been around since 1988! Their music was released on demo tapes and compilations, until 1997, when they released their debut album. In the following time, they searched for the right line up and now, some 7 years after their debut, with pride, they present their second album: Touch In The Dark.

The interesting thing about the line up, is the fact they not only have a female singer, Margriet Mol, but also a female drummer, Karin Mol and a female keyboard player, Manon van der Hidde! The line up is completed by Rik Jansen on guitar and Martin Kooy on bass. After giving Touch In The Dark some time in my CD player, I must say Karin Mol is a very good drummer! Solid, tight and heavy, working together well with Kooy in providing the perfect ground for the songs. Margriet Mol is not a soprano singer, and does not sound like Floor Jansen (After Forever) or Simone Simmons (Epica), but has her own sound. As a whole, I find the sound of Asrai more in the vein of the (older) Gathering.

Touch In The Dark has a very atmospheric sound, a bit doomy, mainly filled with drums and the heavy riffs from Jansen, but I do miss some nice solos, to spice up the music. The synths and some sound effects, add to the Gothic touch of the music, but many songs are close to being radio friendly, like opener "In Front Of Me", or "Pale Light", which is released as single and if the stations play it, it might do a lot of good for this band. Although the sound is very consistent throughout the album, with hardly any surprise, the quality of both the songs and the band is very good.

Besides a good production, the mix is also great, done by none other than Sascha Paeth (Rhapsody, Kamelot, Epica), who seems to be involved in most of the albums Transmission Records has out at present! Also on the vocal part they had some great help: Amanda Sommerville (Aine, Epica, After Forever) was their vocal coach, which adds to the excellent singing of Margriet. The artwork again demonstrates the Gothic elements in the sound of Asrai, completing the picture.

Verdict: Touch In The Dark is a great album, but not exceptional. It is Gothic Metal, but several songs could very well be played on the radio, not a bad thing, of course! Balancing the line between Gothic and Metal, they have created a very good album, which won't get boring and shows the talent of Asrai. If they keep moving in this direction and hopefully adding a bit more variety (guitar solos, maybe some more synths), they have a promising future ahead of them!

[This review originally appeared August 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
In Front Of Me / Pale Light / Whisper / Restless / Touch In The Dark / Tower / Dream / Child / Garden / Shadows

Margriet Mol - vocals
Karin Mol - drums
Manon Van Der Hidde - keyboards
Rik Jansen - guitar
Martin Kooy ? bass

As Voices Speak (1997) Touch In The Dark (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin NL

Added: November 27th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 1066
Language: english


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