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Ashcloud - Abandon All Light

Abandon All Light
by Danny Sanderson at 28 May 2015, 2:53 AM

In a scene that is over-saturated with bands that seem to want to place emphasis on being as heavy as possible, it is quite refreshing when you get a chance to listen to something that manages to achieve that without having to sacrifice the quality of the music. It's even greater when the people that make such great music come together to create despite there being a vast gulf of land and sea between them. ASHCLOUD fall within the cross section of this particular Heavy Metal Venn Diagram, as the Swedish/British duo have managed to create a solid and dynamic record, their first full length "Abandon All Light", despite the fact that they live close to 1500 miles apart. This has helped benefit the record in one specific way, however; that this band's brand of Death Metal, peppered with Crust Punk influences, is a veritable melting pot of both Swedish and British influences. The resulting tunes that this demonic duo have created has lead to a great record.

The albums opening track, laden in an atmospheric intro, is a very low fi, thick song based around powerful rhythm sections and some eerie leads that work incredibly well. The Death Metal is firmly planted within the "Old School" sound, and it sounds pretty good. This is a short track, but sets the bar high for the ones that are to follow. The albums title track really picks up the speed and aggression, with vicious drumming that wouldn't sound out of place in a decent Punk track, coupled with those gnarly, sepulchral guitar and vocal lines. It's a solid track with plenty of hooks and great aspects to it's sound. The song that follows it, "A Hundred Years of Darkness", opens on a cleaner guitar tone, before falling back into the pattern of dark, crunching guitars and tar-like vocals. "Devoured Alive" is yet another great track with a crushing Old School Death Metal vibe to it and a raw production. This is followed by an equally ferocious track, "Drowning in Your Own Blood", which is a speed-driven, energetic track that is easier one of the heaviest on this record.

The sixth song, "Watch Your Children Burn", starts to see the band utilising some more technical lead guitar lines and more complex drumming patterns, creating a great song that stands out as one of the most impressive on this record. The penultimate track, "The Second Wind is Coming", which is the longest song on this album, clocking in at just under six minutes, is a song that is clearly drawing influence from Swedish Death Metal, with guitar lines that are almost melodic, and are indeed pretty catchy as well. This is one of those songs that will likely get stuck in your head and remain in your memory. It's for this reason that this is perhaps the best song on the record, and a great climax to this album, before we head in to the final offering; "Under Dodens Vingar (Part 2)", a companion piece for the albums first song. It's a slower, sludgier affair than most of the tracks on this album, which opt for speed and aggression for the most part. Compared to the rest of this album, it moves forward at a relative crawl, and it's all the more compelling and interesting to listen to as a result. There's some melodic guitar lines that really help to make this an awesome track as well. The music slowly starts to fade away, and the album draws to a close.

This album is a nice blend of different forms of music, and different musical scenes, and manages to pay homage to the sort of Old School Death Metal and Crust Punk many people have grown to love, whilst carving out their own distinct sound and style. This album stands head and shoulders above many underground Death Metal bands at the moment, and it's quite refreshing to hear a Death Metal record that doesn't put tonnes of emphasis on being the most brutal or having the most shock value. This, in my opinion, is how Death Metal should be done.

4 Star Rating

1. Under Dodens Vingar (Part 1)
2. Abandon All Light
3. A Hundred Years of Darkness
4. Devoured Alive
5. Drowning in Your Own Blood
6. Watch You Children Burn
7. The Second Wind is Coming
8. Under Dodens Vingar (Part 2)
Jonny Pettersson - Vocals, Bass, Guitars
Gareth Nash - Lead Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Xtreem Music


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Edited 06 December 2021

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