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Ashbringer - Absolution Award winner

Ashbringer
Absolution
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 05 August 2019, 5:21 AM

ASHBRINGER is a Atmospheric Black Metal ban from Minneapolis, Minnesota; “Absolution” is their third full length album.  I usually convey my appreciation for a great album in a descriptive manner while I’m talking about the music.  However, with this one, I’m going to say this right now:  ASHBRINGER’s “Absolution,” is one of the best albums I’ve heard in the first eight months of this year.   As far as anything Black Metal related goes, this one is nipping on the heels of some of the better releases of the genre such as FIRELINK’s “The Inveterate Fire,” and BURIAL IN THE WOODS’Church of Dagon.”  This is one of those rare albums that is so good, so loaded on bestial content, that I can’t actually write an accurate enough review to truly convey what it contains.

The depth and variety to the seven tracks are astounding to say the least.  Passages are made up of moments that shouldn’t work but do.  When you think you have heard it all, you haven’t.  Take the first track, “Absolution,” for example.  The beginning has a strong country/bluegrass feel to the clean instrumentation.  When I first heard these notes, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be in for.  When the song goes heavy, some of the riffs retain that country twang yet it wholly fits into their sound; I never once thought I was listening to something that wasn’t Metal but ASHBRINGER take non-metal elements and run with them, such as Jazz elements that poke their head from around the corner the deeper you get into the album.

Dreamscape,” is just that—an ethereal imagery of sound and sparse tones.  At first, it seems like it will be nothing more than a track full of noise.  However, it grows into a wondrous landscape of Atmospheric Black metal that challenges the listener while providing a full listening experience.  Anyone who thinks Metal can’t be anything other than its own tropes, needs to listen to this track and understand that even the most out-there Metal bands can challenge and break conventional ideas.

The highlight of the album is the two parts that make up “Eternal Separation.” The first part is a Post-Metal fan’s wet dream because it so effortlessly switches back and forth between light and heavy elements and has so much fancy lead guitar work that is more introspective and thought provoking than in your face Prog fair.  The second half is the heaviest track on the album.  I don’t mean that in the conventional sense, per say, but more so the layers that build upon each other.  It is a very dense track but Blackened vocals are especially intense and the drumming is frantic, while still clever, as hell.

The two parts together are a little over 17 minutes in length, but the journey is worth the time committed.  Each individual performance, each instrument, is like a complete song all by itself.  One could isolate each member’s part by itself and still walk away full to the brim with musical excitement.  The fact that ASHBRINGER can take something like this and put it together into something that makes sense and keep one’s attention is a testament their song writing craft and the intelligence the album carries with itself.

If you are a fan of anything in the realm of Post-Metal/Rock, Black/Shoegaze, Atmospheric or Prog then this album is of the utmost importance to your musical library.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability:10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Absolution
2. Wilderness Walk
3. Dreamscape
4. Shrine of Loss
5. Eternal Separation Pt. 1
6. Eternal Separation Pt. 2
7. Spiritual Architecture
Lineup:
Nick Stranger – Vocals, Guitars
Nathan Wallestad – Bass
Ian Sutherland – Drums
Cormac Piper – Keyboards, Oboe
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
     


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