Asgaard Asgaard - Lux in Tenebris (Live in Krakow)

Recorded at an October 2002 performance opening for Enslaved, Dark Tranquillity and Rotting Christ, Lux in Tenebris presents Asgaard in all their atmospheric darkness live on a Krakow stage. The concert footage is a bit of a letdown — a flat and disappointing mix since the first jarring note, with vocals overbearingly upfront, occasionally sharing the limelight with keyboards or guitar leads. This artsy, classically structured metal doesn't lend itself to screaming and flailing around, which shows both on stage and off. The band looks good on a big platform, crowded around by closely packed fans, but they make little attempt to take advantage of the space and only vocalist Przemyslaw Olbryt moves outside a fixed point. The audience itself was either unenthused or incredibly restrained, politely clapping between songs and standing quite still but for a few happy head-bangers. Variety in well-orchestrated camera angles and shots abounds, although close-ups of a drummer in green T-shirt and blue shorts look laughable against views of Olbryt in make-up, tuxedo shirt and black hooded cape. Asgaard avoids early material here, staying with recent releases known as the "trilogy," though two bootleg video tracks from 1998 provide a glimpse into the pre-Olbryt days. Extras also include galleries, audio, member profiles, discography and an interview with Olbryt and founding guitarist Bartlomiej Kostrzewa. Strangely, violinist Honorata Stawicka appears in the profiles, photos and early live footage but makes no appearance at the Krakow gig. Worthwhile for the dedicated Asgaard fan, despite the pretty (but minimal) packaging and slim chances of the band performing live here in person, Lux in Tenebris is unlikely to reward casual interest and provides a poor introduction to this Polish act. (Metal Mind/PHD)