Ara Solis, Ashvattha (Iron Bonehead 2023)

The debut album from occult black metallists Ara Solis is filled with noise and suffering, Ashvattha.

The origins of the band are a bit murky. As they tell it, “The beginnings of Ara Solis are difficult to trace and are often elusive, since the band was formed from the ashes of other black metal bands and solo projects. The oldest piece of recording is a rehearsal with different members to the current lineup dating from 2015 that never was spread. It is not until 2020 that the lineup becomes stable.” No mention of who is in the lineup, however, except the intimation that they might be a duo (although the band photo would seem to refute that notion).

What’s the album about. Here again, I will rely on published sources. “An altar of golden sacrifice mightily arises ashore the tempestuous waters of Finis Terrae. At the sylvan realms of frost, the holy gate of light and darkness appears erected stone by stone to safeguard the transdimensional portal of heroic resurrection. The Garden of the Hesperides grows around. The ancient tree of life and death [Ashvattha, Yggdrasil] pours the sap of eternity in the ritual copulation of oxygenic and anoxygenic photophosphorylation. Mortals bow their heads toward the arch of heavens. The sword of the warrior reflects the light of the midday amidst the eternal dust of warfare. The moon reflects the light of the sun at night, lightening the hidden paths of the forests beyond reincarnation. War is the Essence. Living souls are reaped where the Phoenix is reborn.” That is a lot to cover in a single album.

There are three tracks on the record. “Tromo Negro do Firmamento” has an ambient beginning, a single note that eventually starts to warble then fades out. Silence. A solitary electric guitar appears, crisp and crackling, then noise loads the frame and sour movement takes over. A shrieking voice can be heard. These elements come and go, then abruptly stop. “Ara Solis” is unrelenting, longer, and similarly styled. There is more and louder screaming on this track, and it is disturbing, especially when paired with a solitary guitar. Yikes. It does have a long cooldown, so you have time to mop your brow.

The anchor piece is the seventeen-minute “Ashvattha: The Tree of Life and Death.” In some ways, this track is a bit like a combination of the first two. I got into the guitar parts more in this third piece, and I am attracted to the ambition of its magnitude. The final few minutes are quietly moving. This album is not for everybody, but if you like noise and black metal and experimentation, this one might be for you.

Ashvattha is out on Friday, May 19th through Iron Bonehead Productions in digital, with a CD coming from Zazen Sounds. Try the links below for more information on the releases.



Iron Bonehead Productions,

© Wayne Edwards

Ara Solis, Ashvattha (Iron Bonehead 2023)