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Fell Voices / Ash Borer > Ash Borer / Fell Voices > Reviews > NausikaDalazBlindaz
Fell Voices / Ash Borer - Ash Borer / Fell Voices

Rising stars of Cascadian BM offer transcendence - 95%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 13th, 2013

Two rising acts in the underground black metal scene in North America are featured on this split release. Judging from the cover, I figure this split is in the form of a cassette with Ash Borer occupying one side and Fell Voices on the other. The cassette form is nowhere near as good as CD or some online websites where you can link into uploading tracks but it does have its uses as a cheap and portable storage for various music genres where attention to spotless production is not a premium and a raw primitive sound or a DIY aesthetic is preferred. Perhaps some time in the future when either of these bands is better known, a label may pick up this EP and give it a vinyl or CD release.

Ash Borer's contribution is fast, hard and aggressive with a battery of tremolo guitars, pummelling drums and thin sandpaper vocals filled with hate and anger. For the first five mintues the track is simple for the most part, it's just sheer unadulterated single-minded fury channelled into a storm of BM noise guitar raging across the cosmos. There's an acid bite to the music that gives it a sharp edge. The music changes about the sixth minute into a slower, more melancholic and sorrowful piece with loping drums and voices that sound as much pained and saddened as angry. The rhythm is more complex than at first appears with a hidden thundering bass loop. The piece continues on its moody way with more thunderous percussion and tough and hard-as-nails strings that eventually resume their original race through the fabric of time and space. This is a tremendous piece of music that takes in melancholy and aggression in roughly equal parts.

Fell Voices' side is a dark brooding piece that starts with droning guitar rhythm counterbalanced by a jewel-like pure-toned lead guitar melody. As with Ash Borer's side, there is really excellent drumming to be found here and at times this is privileged above the rest of the music. A dense guitar noise storm unfurls in dense turbulence above the racing rhythms. Vocals tend to be engulfed in the track and appear as a serpentine presence with an acid, poisonous edge that swirls in and out of the music. This is fairly minimalist music that through speed and noise guitar texture creates a trance-like state in the listener's mind. There are at least two significant changes involving changes of key and switching the emphasis from rhythm and lead guitar to bass in the piece. About four or five minutes near the end the musicians themselves appear to enter a heightened level of consciousness and the music takes over their minds and souls: you can really hear the concentration and intensity with which they play, and their minds seem inter-connected to One Mind that directs their playing. How else to explain the incredible focus these guys have, all completely co-ordinated and the music moving as one?

Overall here is excellent music with the right balance of minimal raw ambient black metal and improvisation which enables the musicians to achieve transcendence. The flight into other worlds is breath-taking yet there's a discipline at work which prevents the bands from falling into self-indulgence. The music is always very focussed and never loses sight of its goal.

It seems unfair to say which of the two bands is better - the road to transcendence and connection to One Mind can and should take many varied paths - but for me, Fell Voices have the slight edge with their sound and the more organic nature of the music. Their track really takes on a life of its own and the musicians become channels for another reality to edge into our universe and offer another way of seeing ourselves. This is not to take anything away from Ash Borer's effort which is very inspired and passionate in its own way. This EP is highly recommended for fans of raw and atmospheric Cascadian black metal.