Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ash Borer: Cold of Ages (2012)


After all the underground buzz surrounding Ash Borer, the band have finally released a proper CD/digital album. It's about time, and it's thanks to Profound Lore.

It's easy to see why people have been getting their panties in a bunch over these guys. The music draws heavily from the atmospheric and post-black schools of black metal that have been getting attention lately, similar to the likes of Wolves in the Throne Room, but with more teeth. You could make a case that Cold of Ages is a direct response to everything Alcest has done in the last few years, a response that says, "No, this is how you’re supposed to do it."

After an eerie opening, the black metal begins. Cavernous, mighty, distant, and threatening, it swells and falls to great effect. The record is comprised of four extended compositions, each having its own distinct riffs to unify the whole. The vocals are indistinct and tortured, and used sparingly. Even the ethereal guest vocals of Jessica Way (Worm Ouroboros) are difficult to understand, adding more to that inhuman, cave-dwelling aesthetic. Yet even without the human elements of recognizable words or hooks, they know how to keep it interesting over the nearly hour-long runtime by playing with dynamics. The ambient outro of "Phantoms," the funereal dirge that opens "Convict All Flesh," or the sparse beginning and loud/quiet/loud patterns of "Removed Forms."

All that mention of the occasional sparseness, quiet, ambient, or female vocals might make you doubt that claim about the teeth to this thing. But even at their most subtle, Ash Borer have bite. Hear it for yourself.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy Cold of Ages

1 comment:

  1. OMFG I've listened to this a number of times already. OMFGOMFG.

    ^That's the most professional review I can manage right now. Best Black Metal album since... their other one!

    Thanks for the review!