If you judge an album by the cover art, you would expect this to be some French Necro Black Metal (possibly affiliated with the Black Legions). Let’s just say that outside of playing Black Metal, this isn’t even close. Ash Borer hails from California and has been associated with the “Cascadian” Black Metal scene (they’re from Northern California, though the Cascadian scene is primarily in the Pacific Northwest area - mostly Washington and Oregon). This is their second full-length album and their debut for Profound Lore. Their previous LP (their self-titled debut) was released on Psychic Violence Records in 2011, and there are also two demos and a split EP with Fell Voices in their back catalog, so there is no shortage of material by this band. Their sound and style kind of reminds me of Wolves in the Throne Room, but Ash Borer has more of a droning, semi-Ambient quality to their music. They are both lovers of the epic length song, though. Every track on this album is over ten minutes, with the longest just a hair over eighteen. The riffing is very dark most of the time, and the slower, more Doom influenced stuff in particular has that brooding, morose feeling prevalent. Their main weakness is in the fast parts. When they build up the dark and depressive feelings, these guys will sometimes speed things up, wrecking the atmosphere. Their main strength is in the slower, Doom style of Black Metal. When they play to that strength, Ash Borer is fucking deadly. When they don’t, they end up sounding generic. Maybe what this band needs to do is take more time in writing their albums. Most of their material was released within the last two years, so they may be rushing things. I don’t know if their contract demands an album a year, but I’d recommend slowing things down a bit and concentrating on writing songs that focus more on the Doom elements rather than the faster, more generic sounding stuff.
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