Wave Gothic Treffen XIV in 2005

Park Buhne in Leipzig, Germany

Review by Travis Baumann

We first discovered ASP on this very stage several years back and what a discovery it was. At that time he was a fairly new artist on the Dark Gothic scene who had a unique voice with a very appealing musical inclination.  

Now years later, the shows that he and his band put on are no longer the start of the day but are one of the more prestigous time slots and his draw is enormous, easily filling the park's open air amphitheater.

Relying on his long time collaborators like Matze and Tossi, their shows have always been impressive muscially. With each new tour their scale and grandure also escalate, this year incorporating pyrotechnics of blazing size which projected heat far into the depths of the audience.

Matze has been with ASP since the beginning in 1999 working as a producer, guitarist and back up vocalist. Tossi has been with them for some time now as well and plays bass as well as sings back up.

One of the signature sounds of ASP is the male choral effect these three men (and sometimes more on certain tours) have when singing in unison.

2005 saw the release of ASP's fourth full length album "Aus Der Tiefe". This show was packed with new material and favorites from the previous three musical endeavors as well.

With festival shows, even the top bands have a limited set time so there was no way we could hear every one of our favorties but there was a fantastic selection, and this being our third time seeing them now, it is always good to see new material.

ASP himself is a special performer, drawing the audience in through his facial expressions and body language both of which exemplify and portray the emotional play at work in his art.

He usually dons facial makeup of some sort, not delving into the Black Metal corpse style facial paint, he does however, take on a deathly pale complexion as well as dark masking circles around his eyes, on this occassion dripping down onto his cheeks like a sad, evil mime.

ASP has delved deeply into the realm of a Gothic Fairytale with his more recent albums, building upon a self imposed mythos that incorporates a Nosferatu outcast sort of vampire creature, often personifing himself in many ways.

Earlier albums dealt with subjects like gods and the devil or mankind being on, and of, the Ship of Fools. Recently the ASP has seemingly turned his back on the foolishness of human kind as well as their man made deities. He revels in his own darkness but is also subject to a melancholy sadness that even immortals cannot do away with. That is not to say that the music is joyless, far from it.

ASP continually returns to the metaphor of himself being the "Black Butterfly". In itself a thing of dark wonder and beauty, but also an analogy of metamorphosis. From the early life as an ugly pupa or caterpiller being trapped on the earth and easily subject to predators, to eventually transforming into the majestic aereal butterfly. Even though it has earned this freedom it still proves to be a fragile creature.

Despite the metaphor of growth and fragility through the obvious emotional content of the lyrics, he also has an equal number of power house songs that get the entire audience moving, becoming in fact Gothic Anthems. He and his audience can relish in the dark power of the music together and empower themselves in this foolish world of man.

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