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Ashlands - Ashlands II

Ashlands II
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 September 2020, 7:03 AM

ASHLANDS is an Atmospheric Black Metal band based out of Italy. Formed in 2019, they released their debut, self-titled EP the same year, and now in 2020 are back with the sequel, “Ashlands II.” The album contains four tracks. “Morrow” opens the album, with clean guitar tones and a solemn feeling. It is both warm and inviting. It builds, with might and power, to a stunning crescendo. “Mountain Augurs” is five-minutes of agonizing vocals and thick instrumentation. It moved forward quickly, and with a tight, chaotic style. It falls within the realm of pretty traditional Black Metal for me.

“As the Skies Rain Eternally” brings the atmospheric elements to the table, with simulated rain and light thunder in the background, with alluring piano and clean guitars. It’s a short ride, lasting only about two minutes. “Engraved in Black Lava” is the final track, and it’s a beast, at over seven minutes in length. The opening tones are positive, the title notwithstanding. Darkness creeps in at around the one-minute mark, with noticeable bass guitars and some soft programming. Then, the distorted guitars enter along with vocals. It isn’t chaotic per se, it follows more of a structure than “Mountain Augurs.” The atmospheric elements come through strongly here. At the half-way mark, lead guitars carry the melody forward, then the sound drops to more of what we heard in the beginning. I like the changes put forward here.

Overall, it’s tough to rate an album based on only four tracks, but I will say that the duo here put a great deal of thought into their compositions. It isn’t just the same old recycled Black Metal that you can hear anywhere. The atmospheric elements bring a good deal of melody to the table, something that I always appreciate. I will look forward to hearing more from this band in the future, for sure.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Morrow
2. Mountain Augurs
3. As the Skies Rain Eternally
4. Engraved in Black Lava
The Wanderer – Guitars, Bass, Keys, Clean Vocals, Lyrics, Programming (Drums, Orchestral)
The Vanguard – Harsh vocals, Lyrics
Record Label: Independent


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