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Eternal Helcaraxe – Drown in Ash

Eternal Helcaraxe
Drown in Ash
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 30 November 2022, 3:56 PM

The only statement about the band or album came in one sentence from their EPK: “On their third studio album “Drown in Ash, “EXTERNAL HELCARAXE aim to describe the dark and
emotive battle with depression, feelings of desolate bleakness and loss. The album has seven songs.

“Withered Strands of Existence” is the first. Charming piano notes open the song, delicate and depressing. They make me feel sad, but also quite alive, from the viewpoint that if I can feel them, I am feeling something. Angry Black Metal tones follow with a reprieve of clean guitars. The push and pull between these two styles defines the song. The title track is another strong mixture of these two styles. What works so well is the level of balance between the two. Just when the desolate feeling nearly overtake you, there is a slow-down of the intense pain for a few bars. Clean vocals come into play, furthering that somber, helpless feeling. “Where Dead Things Roam Free” is a shorter offering, but no less intensity. This time, the pain is two-fold…in your head and in your gut. The harsh vocals cut through you like a sharp knife, all the way to the bone.

“None of it Mattered” is even shorter…a piano led song with melancholy tones. As the title suggests, nothing is what you feel listening to this song. But there is beauty within the darkness, that you feel very much. “Ice Cold Winds” is just that…a fast blast of frigid air that will numb you to the bone. It rides forward on one of the four horses of the apocalypse…namely Death. He leaves a trail of the dead wherever he passes. Still, the music is very beautiful and makes you long for more. “Cease” is a short and raging song with tones of hate and anger outright. The harsh vocals roar and could be heard for miles across an empty canyon. The lengthy “In Darkwoods and Dreams” closes the album. Following an ardent and angry passages, the sound drops to whispers and some lighter, and more sobering tones. It waxes and wanes a couple more times, as the title suggests, toggling between frightening woods and soothing dreams. The best part is, you never know which is coming around the corner.

One thing about the overarching genre of Black Metal is that it can be a lot of things. There is much room for experimentation and many other elements that can be used along with the core of the genre. This Irish band has made use of many different sounds on the album. As I mentioned above, the balance that they find between anger and despair is probably the best part about the album. There is everything present that you love about Black Metal with enough supporting sounds to keep it strictly apart from their peers.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Withered Strands of Existence
2. Drown in Ash
3. Where Dead Things Roam Free
4. None of It Mattered
5. Ice Cold Winds
6. Cease
7. In Darkwoods and Dreams
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions


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