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A great classic of majestic ambient BM on fire - 90%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, August 5th, 2015

To hear great cold and majestic flowing atmospheric black metal, you really can't go past Ash Borer; they may not have released very much work since their formation in 2008 but what recordings are available are to be treasured. Ash Borer write and perform blazingly furious music, so much so that I'm inclined to think much of what they do is improvised and the band members might actually be channelling a mighty and mysterious force whose intent is to remind us humans of the primal natural forces that gave rise to our existence and never to forget where we came from.

From the moment this self-titled debut album starts, the band takes listeners on a wild and mesmerising ride through dark and terrifying territory that encompasses depressive BM, dark ambient, apocalyptic post-metal and elements of technical death metal and doom metal. The music incorporates plenty of riffing and melody but in a way that seems completely organic, not intentional. Howling banshee vocals in the background add to the hellish nature of the music. The band's full-bore, take-no-prisoners approach includes near-continuous blast-beat drumming and tremolo-guitar shredding, and that makes for a very overwhelming and highly immersive listening experience.

For all the fury on display though, the music is also very expressive and emotional, and beauty is as much part of it as the passion and energy are. In the few moments where the band appears to pause for breath, the mood that emerges can be deeply sorrowing, even despairing. Renewed anger and energy are often the result, and listeners can be completely knocked over by the sheer force and power of the music. The second track in particular has some very powerful doomy sections where the bass surges like an almighty tidal force.

However, it's not the individual moments that define the album; what defines it is the continuous flow of energy and power through the entire recording. Sometimes hard, onrushing and unstoppable, at other times contemplative and inwardly focused, but always alive and alert, this spirit makes Ash Borer's self-titled album a special being indeed.