Asbestoscape Review

Neo-folktronica, Unblack Metal, Electro-glitch-Psychedelia, Neo-Instrumental-Electro-Industrial, the list goes on. The ever-common name-game used in underground music communities grow to ridiculous degrees, vaguely defining today's most ambiguous of bands/musicians. Then again, the endless string of adjectives used to describe an unknown hybrid genre is easier said than done. Actually mixing these often contrasting sounds into a listenable concoction takes skills. Asbestoscape (Luke Shaw's self-titled debut) is one of the few albums that are capable of that.

Bound together under common threads of darkness, the songs on Asbestoscape are basically a variation of the same structure. This may make Shaw's sounds feel a little contrived, but the dark atmosphere overwhelming this self-titled are topnotch. "Arctic" conveys a sound reminiscent of composer Akira Yamaoka with repeated guitar riffs and strums. Even darker is the minacious "Return" with its spastic beats, glowing electo-ambience and eerie strings. Trip-hop heavy "Mono" sporadically sputters triple beats in Shaw's third reincarnation of gloomy atmospherics. A reverb-soaked piano plays in "And So the Story Goes…" as the well-calculated beats jerk with abandon. However, the strangest of things happen by track five. In exchange for the albums slew of gloom and drone, beats begin to pick up their pace. "Like S*** Attracting Flies" begins to fall away from the climax listeners were greatly expecting. "Ashen" brings upon more rushed beats into a song that's too loud for it's kind, ultimately distorting the sense of danger. Limp "Thursday" is too far from the first half of this self-titled to accommodate for the second.
Shaw has an ear for composition unlike that of most musicians of his breed. Ranging from metal to post-rock to electronica to god knows what, this self-titled evokes the darkest shades of emotion into each and every morsel of its being. Though there are some definite faults. Because the first half of Asbestoscape is so brooding, it's disappointing when it doesn't reach its expected peak. The sounds run strong, but not strong enough for us to hear the climactic undertones. Faults set aside; Shaw concocts sounds as majestic as they are bewildering.

Track Listing
1. Arctic
2. Return
3. Mono
4. And So the Story Goes…
5. Like S*** Attracting Flies
6. Ashen
7. Thursday

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