Talanas: Asylum

Stripped-back gothic splendour from an unexpected source.

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There are bands where it’s possible to precisely locate the time in their career when their creativity is spent, happy to churn out albums that are feeble replicas of their greatest works. With Asylum, Talanas have demonstrated that they still possess a raft of fresh ideas. The band have already established a solid reputation for producing riveting, progressive death metal in the mould of Opeth and Akercocke, yet with this ‘unplugged’ album, they’ve demonstrated a flair for the unexpected.

Their sound here may be stripped back and without the distinctive juddering riffs and gruff vocals, yet they’ve lost none of the intensity or dark supremacy that is their hallmark. Instead, tracks such as Sister Damnable and Nothing Gained have a gothic intensity that’s reminiscent of Fields Of The Nephilim and Wayne Hussey-era Sisters Of Mercy.

Crucially, the use of clean vocals throughout will also appeal to those who find their usual growling vocals either unpalatable or a touch passé. Indeed, the only palpable flaw is that this is only a five-track EP, as Talanas have shown a side to their music that demands to be examined further in future releases.