Led by the imposing figure of professional strongman Tetzel (real name Tim – you can see why the nom de metal has been employed!), German melodeath assault unit Asenblut struggle to establish their own identity on fourth full-length outing Die Wild Jagd.

Whilst never really descending into the realm of the mundane, Asenblut’s real problem at this point would seem to be that all their best tunes have already been used by someone else – with Amon Amarth being the main culprits. If we’re being honest, as Johann Hegg and company drift further up the river mainstream, a spot has opened up in the hearts of fans of a more ‘underground’ bent to replace everybody’s fave berzerkers; and at times, especially on this album’s brace of standout cuts Seite An Seite and Irminsul, you catch yourself thinking that that spot may well be occupied in the future by Asenblut. But, at this point, they can’t back up the quality of those two tracks with enough regularity to make them true contenders.

If you take away the comparisons, however, and just settle for enjoying Die Wild Jagd on it’s own merits, then you’ll find yourself enjoying all nine of it’s tracks to varying degrees (the review copy of the album I received also featured an ‘extended version’ of Seite an Seite, but I’m not sure if yours will). Penumbra features some standout guitar playing from Claus Cleinkrieg, and recent single release Codex Gigas (named after the largest medieval book in the world, AKA The Devil’s Bible) will also get heads banging, as will the album’s heaviest (yet most melodic) track Weder Gott, noch Könige.

Asenblut clearly have all the tools at their disposal to go a long way up metal’s league ladder – and if they can find some way of injecting a bit more of their own personality along the way then it might well be the top rung of that ladder. Watch and wait!

Die Wilde Jagd is out now.