? A good many people will already have asked themselves this due to the name cropping up so often in the upper reaches of the official German music charts, as if out of the dark nothingness. A first impression which is not deceiving, as
definitely come out of the darkness, from the dark side of music, although their artistic existence goes much deeper.
bring profundity to light in a way which hardly any other act is able and couple this with a type of dark aesthetic sought by others of their ilk. This shows itself in the immortal saga about the Schwarzer Schmetterling as well as in the congenial 'Krabat' scoring of 'Zaubererbruder' - both concepts of sombre beauty and almost bottomless depth. How could they surpass milestones such as these? How could they venture to dip the quill into the inkwell to start a new chapter? The answer is obvious: they should go forth into the unknown and seek adventure.
After the release of the live DVD 'Von Zaubererbrüdern' and extensive touring, ASP
secluded himself more than ever and barricaded himself in virtually hermit-like fashion inside his own Dunkler Turm (dark tower) in order to enable the next era of his band come into being. Much has changed with ASP
, but much remains the same. The world has rotated once more, has changed and yet has preserved the artistic spirit, the gothic core essence of this unparalleled project. The eagerly awaited precursor single 'Wechselbalg' stormed fully into the black heart of the gothic movement and made that new chapter tangible for the first time in a way which words never could. And yet that release was only the start, an initial small glimpse of a complex musical narrative which will cast a spell over us with the start of this new cycle, which goes by the name of 'Fremd'.
How can you describe an album whose intensity fully claims the listener for itself? An album whose sinister radiance and lyrics, which express in words as splendidly as ever the chasm-like contrast between a constantly perceptible feather-light languor and merciless, overpowering severity, emanate life? Whose profound embodiment actually goes beyond mere music and manifests itself as a dark yet nightmarishly beautiful cathedral building? Perhaps by mentioning the mercilessly rocking force which erects monumental memorials to goth rock and then, in the next few seconds, breaks them down with the gentle flapping of a wing which wafts directly out of the 'Zaubererbruder' kingdom into the here and now. But perhaps also by understanding 'Fremd' as a uniquely intensified blend of all those essential elements which have made ASP
what they are today: the most important German gothic rock project of all.ASP Spreng
, singer, composer, lyricist, godfather of personnel and heart and mind behind the project takes the you, the listener, by the hand in the manner of a mysterious stranger and leads you into a dark kingdom without, however, allowing you to sink into hopelessness. Beneficial sadness is to be found in many hidden places and so at the end, the stranger is to be trusted. A place in which you were able to find yourself again.
As he searches for the shades of melancholy, ASP Spreng
evokes a powerful spell which makes an enchanted as well as disturbing experience from the in part epically long pieces. The album wafts like a wisp of spectral fog from an English moor in Victorian times across the cold streets of today. 'Fremd' is a musical reinvention which nevertheless feels so familiar, as if this project had never sounded any different. It is a musical and lyrical coup which boasts an additional highlight owing to the spectacular cover artwork by Timo Würz
, who is sought after worldwide and who could thrill Marvel and George Lucas. His artwork will enrich the first part of the 'Fremd' cycle with a graphical style never before achieved.
But as sombre, unsettling, teeth-baring, melancholy and plaintive as 'Fremd' may be, the twinkle of an eye can likewise be sensed once again, a subtle humour nevertheless resonating between the lines like a strong, emotionally-charged intimacy when ASP
bares his emotions for the listener. Therefore ASP
perhaps never sounded more convincing, the lyrics never more expressive, the music never more substantial. A new era has begun - and never before has it been so worth the wait. You can confidently allow yourself to be carried off into the unknown by ASP
; to plunge into the darkness which, with this album, they have once again transformed into a thrilling experience, a masterpiece.