A quick search on this site and you’ll see almost immediately that I’ve barely been able to even mention the word Sweden in the last, oh, seven or eight months, without accompanying it with the word Asteroid. Very quickly, the Örebro trio have become a touchstone to which I compare almost every act from their home country, fairly or unfairly — it certainly applies more to Blowback than Barren Earth — and because I’ve gone back to it for more repeat listens than anything else in 2010, their second album, II, is my number one pick for the first half of the year.
Even after reviewing the disc and interviewing bassist/vocalist Johannes Nilsson, I’m blown away by the natural feel of the record. If you take the time to listen to II, the songs begin to seep into your consciousness, and I think a big part of that comes from how well balanced the production is. Songs like “Edge” and “Time” might sound simple your first time through, but examine the depth of the arrangements, the vocal interplay between Nilsson and guitarist Robin Hirse, the personality behind the drumming of Elvis Campbell and the flowing but distinguishable jams that permeate the tracks, and you’ll hear an organic clarity that few bands can affect on a recording. Asteroid make it seem easy.
It’s a cliche among music fans: “I haven’t taken it out of my player since I got it.” Obviously that’s not true or there’d be a serious dearth of reviews around here, but safe to say that Asteroid‘s II has gone back in said player more times than anything else in 2010. After finally buying a full copy of the record and seeing the gorgeously intricate cut digipak packaging, my appreciation went even further. Every part of this album is uniquely Asteroid, from the music on.
What it all boils down to is that my enjoyment of II has only increased with the number of times I’ve heard it. It’s far from the highest profile release in terms of the promotional machine, but for me, it’s the richest, most satisfying listen I’ve come across this year, and since it came out in January, I’ve had plenty of time to get tired of it and it hasn’t happened yet. Had II not been my number one pick, this whole list would be a sham.
Tags: Asteroid, Fuzzorama, Sweden, TFFH10, Örebro