Progressive blackened death metal band Ashen Horde summon essences from the beyond for their fourth long-player, Antimony.
Initially, Ashen Horde was a one-man band, but since its beginning the line-up has expanded to Trevor Portz (guitar, clean vocals), Stevie Boiser (harsh vocals), Robin Stone (drums), and Igor Panasewicz (bass). With at least seven EPs and three previous long-players in their catalogue, the band has a lot to offer. The new record expands and deepens the musicians’ legacy, moving them closer to the vanguard of contemporary metal.
After a short intro, “The Throes of Agony” is the ice breaker. At the beginning, the music feels like a battering from a rock hammer – on the pointy end. The weight of the metal accelerated by the swing assists in the deep penetration of the probing end. The lead guitar break is surprisingly lyrical, and the riffs have an underhanded hookiness to them. The vocals are half-hissed. When the elements are brought together this way, the blast beats enter easily and the gruff vocals, when they arrive, are perfectly in place. Excellent. “The Consort” brings its own introduction, which distracts from the cliff you are walking toward. The music reminds me of a dark carnival in many places. But then in the second half, there is a long guitar break that brings on nostalgia for metal from the past. The dueted vocals are a surprise.
Not counting the intro bit and the short “bonus” track at the end, there are eight longish songs on the album. Each is a combination of different genre lanes, assembled carefully for impact and consistency. Listening to the entire album is an unusual experience because, despite the angular differences in the pieces – both within and between – it all fits and flows so nicely together. “The Barrister” is an excellent example of this by itself. There is not much dissonance, although you will find it in places, like on “The Neophyte.” Overall, this is a great metal album that will have a broader appeal than I at first imagined. Recommended.
Antimony is out on Friday, January 27th through Transcending Obscurity Records. Tons of great merch and format variants are available for this release through the links below.
Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/
© Wayne Edwards