Created as a means of exploring the contradictions inherent in a contemporary capitalist world, the Glaswegian avant-garde black metal act presents challenging and abrasive musical textures in a progressive, post-black metal framework.
Asenspire debuted in 2017 on Code666 records with Speak Not of the Laudanum Quandary, a critique of British Imperialism. The new album Hostile Architecture is a commentary on the widening of the inconceivably vast wealth gap between capitalists and the working class, and growing alienation between one another as subjects. Musically the outfit create alluring and yet disturbing soundscapes which develop as the album progresses.
Grounding the mood with intense dissonance and distortion, jazz influences and ethereal violin parts construct a stark contrast. The discomforting chaos emerges through contrapuntal melodies such as those used in “BÉTON BRUT”. Manipulating dynamics amid tracks, and throughout Hostile Architecture, enhances the emotional anguish of Ashespir`s powerful message. With an almost serene tone, the beautiful choir in How The Mighty Have Vision diverges significantly from the darker sounds that dominate elsewhere.
Hostile Architecture sees Ashenspire leaning further into avant-garde jazz tendencies and black metal dissonance in a more full realization of their own sprechstimme. Engaging with evolving compositional styles and experimental techniques, Ashenspire are cultivating exceptional music. The track Tragic Heroine,
Video shot by Calum McMillan at the Audio Lounge, Glasgow, and various locations around the city in 2021.
High tides. Titanic strides
through twisted metal.
Red Roads brought low.
Once more into the breach.
Up rusted rungs you reach, up blank stares you climb.
UP UP THROUGH RIME AND RUIN
TIERS OF CONCRETE TEARS OF UNDOING
Hostages all; at gunpoint
they spun the wheel and hoped
that what they had was sellable;
one’s labour must be sellable.
The violence goes deeper. Violence indelible.
NO GREAT MEN
ONLY THE GREAT MANY
I have a feeling.
I have a feeling that it’s falling
apart at the seams;
and that the people,
and that the people in the gutters
recognise their means.
I hear the meaning.
I hear the meaning of the whispers
sprayed upon the doors.
Now comes the hour;
now comes the hour that the needle
will pierce the spoken-for.
Fuelled with your labour.
Built with your bones.
There are no great men.
Only the great many.
Performing on Tragic Heroine:
Alasdair Dunn – Drums, Voice
Fraser Gordon – Guitars
Ben Brown – Bass Guitar
James Johnson – Violin
1. The Law Of Asbestos
2. Béton Brut
3. Plattenbau Persephone Praxis
4. How the Mighty Have Vision
5. Tragic Heroin 03:15
6. Apathy as Arsenic Lethargy as Lead
8. Cable Street Again
Hostile Architecture is a sonic exploration of the ways that subjects under late capitalism are constrained and set in motion via the various structures that uphold stratification and oppression in urban contexts. It is inspired by brutalist, postmodern and utilitarian architectural structures that are found throughout post-industrial cities, hauntological in nature, being designed to provide for the populace through affordable housing but ultimately cost-cutting exercises and unfit for purpose.
The term hostile architecture refers to design elements in social spaces that deter the public from using the object for means unintended by the designer, e.g. anti-homeless spikes, which the album presents as emblematic of a foundational contempt for the poor and working class, an exemplification of a status quo fortified in concrete. The album invites the listener to explore the dissonance of these contradictions in their own circumstances and perhaps consider possibilities for a world beyond what Mark Fisher called Capitalist Realism.