Album Review: Ashen Horde – Fallen Cathedrals (Extreme Metal Music/Rockshots Records)
Hailing from the cold, unforgiving wastelands of Hollywood, California, Ashen Horde are a two-piece band that strives to embrace a multitude of extreme metal sub-genres, without being bound to any one of them. Drawing influence from metal’s crème de le extreme, from Enslaved and Devin Townsend to Ihsahn and Opeth, Ashed Horde (aka Trevor Portz and Stevie Boiser (Vale of Pnath, Inferi)), may have a sound rooted in death and black metal, but can’t truly be called either.
Originally launched as a one-man project in 2013 by writer and multi-instrumentalist Trevor Portz, Ashed Horde has released two critically acclaimed albums, as well as several EPs, over the past three years.
Their third album, ‘Fallen Cathedrals’ will be released on March 22nd 2019 via Extreme Metal Music and Rockshots Records on CD and vinyl in Europe and North America.
A concept album in the vein of J.G. Ballard’s dystopian novel “High Rise,” “Fallen Cathedrals” explores class warfare and a society’s descent into primitive, warring tribes.
“The forthcoming album, Fallen Cathedrals, is the perfect illustration of what Ashen Horde is all about. Musically, it draws influence from across the metal spectrum. There is hyper speed, blast-beat-fueled black metal that runs alongside pummeling death metal riffs; clean-sung melodic passages juxtaposed against face-melting screams, and headbanging beats intermixed with progressive odd-time signatures.”
With opener Parity Lost, Ashen Horde set the bar very early on and surprise too. What initially seems as though it’s just a wild and furious blackened death metal opener transforms the further it goes on. A clean vocals segment really stands out but even the deep, beefiness of the riffs and rapid pace impresses. A hell of a start.
Gloominess descends for Profound Darkness but rather than create fear, it welcomes and wraps itself around us. Retaliation-Regret pours the murkiness on thickly but the bright light of the guitars guides us through it. Then we have The Vanishing, a straight-forward black metal track until around about the halfway point where it delves into a surprising prog-style moment that is reminiscent of the the likes of Primus.
It’s bloody great and with confidence Ashen Horde continue that into Atavism, a chunky and thick sounding track before Cages’ clean echoing vocals alongside brutal heaviness absolutely slays.
The one track that perhaps doesn’t burn as brightly is Final Ascent as it lacks any real hook. However, Face of the Enmity revives things for a raging finale. Buyers of the CD will also get a bonus track called Primal, a great combination of everything great about Ashen Horde as the fiery heaviness alongside cleaner vocal passages work wonderfully well together.
Ashen Horde – Fallen Cathedrals Full Track Listing:
1. Parity Lost
2. Profound Darkness
4. The Vanishing
7. Final Ascent
8. Face of the Enmity
9. Primal (CD Bonus Track)
The album can be ordered via Rockshot Records here and Bandcamp here. Find out more about Ashen Horde by visiting their website, Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter.
Ashen Horde - Fallen Cathedrals (Extreme Metal Music/Rockshots Records)
The Final Score - 8.5/10