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Ash Borer > 2009 Demo > Reviews > Satanic_Shoe
Ash Borer - 2009 Demo

Decent, But Nothing Special - 60%

Satanic_Shoe, December 23rd, 2010

Black metal is all about the Burzum-worship now., directly or indirectly. Weakling did it (better), but they didn't restrict themselves so much and brought in some other, more unusual influences, most notably Swans (who made the song from which Weakling get their name) and the ambiguous post-rock genre. They took the grim-blizzard Burzum aesthetic and turned it into lengthy, climactic epics. Soon after, Wolves in the Throne room followed in their footsteps, but with a more primal, yet sophisticated atmosphere. WITTR essentially set up the new formula for black metal bands to follow (like Krallice), and now WITTR clones are emerging roaches from the floorboards. Ash Borer, who hail from some bumfuck place in California, are one of these.

This is pure WITTR-worship here, and not a whole lot of originality is to be had. In fact, the riffs sound nearly identical Wolves' riffs. Everything from the black metal onslaughts to the bleak mellow bits screams (or perhaps howls) WITTR. Fortunately for Ash Borer, this isn't so bad, because, like with Carcass-worship, the WITTR formula is a pretty effective one, and Ash Borer employ it fully.

Perhaps the only bit of not-so-typical presence is the post-rock. It fits in well with the break toward the end of the "Durkne" and is all well good, however typical, with the true majesty in the first few minutes of the second track which has a post-rock build worthy of a Mono album before descending back into tremolo rape. Another thing is the drumming, which is more groove-oriented and not just a minigun at full speed. Hellhammer -- indisputably black metal's biggest whore -- himself could learn a thing or two from M., methinks.

If you were expecting this to sound (production-wise) like a Burzum blizzard, think again; the production values here really ain't so bad. The guitars shimmer beautifully and the vocals rise painfully from the ocean of fuzz. But the drums are terribly mixed! The snare and kick are so low that I didn't know they were blasting during the first real blast-o-rama of "Drukne". All I could hear was a hi-hat taking a splashing liquid shit over everything. In the second track, too, the cymbals nearly kill the atmosphere they are so repugnantly loud. Aside from that though, everything sounds pretty good for a fucking demo (thank you digital age)!

In all, this is a good effort. The Wolves in the Throne Room worship works, but the lack of originality is painful. But if Ash Borer work on those post-rock elements and maybe actually use their keyboardist, they could improve vastly. Perhaps this is one of those bands we should keep our eyes on.