The first true full length from Japan’s Asunojokei (明日の叙景) translates to Awakening, and it’s a marvel of a record, taking blackgaze, prog, and hardcore elements and injecting it with a kitchen sink approach that is anything but disorderly to create a vibrantly alive album that made my Honorable Mention list last year, but in reality should have been in the overall list.
Because I am also incredibly late on this post (but happy it took two months before missing a day) here is what I originally wrote about Awakening:
The unique mix of hardcore, black metal, shoegaze and post-kitchen sink approach Asunojokei bring to their music hooked me since first hearing their debut EP, which landed in my Best of 2016 list. Their full length debut, translated as Awakening, doubles down on the same aesthetics that make the band such a singular entity. “Double Quotation Mark” moves from a choppy chord drenched in delay to strained tremolo-laden cry of anguish, only to move a few bars later to a syncopated progressive riff that wouldn’t be out of place on a Between the Buried and Me record. That the band can make every leap feel organic even as it’s completely unexpected is just one reason I can’t get enough of this album.
I’ll just add that right now “Double Quotation Mark,” “Sleet,” and the epic “Bashfulness of the Moon” are some of the best examples of what we don’t see enough of in American and European black metal, and need to.