If bleak atmospheric black metal is your thing it’s time to check out Ash Borer. They definitely rank up there with Leviathan and Xasthur on the US black metal frontline, and after a few full lengths they have gone into the studio with Randall Dunn who produced Sunn o))) and Wolves In The Throne Room. So now the horror is absolute and massive.
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- The Irrepassable Gate by Ash Borer
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Hell! I was gonna start this review with a “hell yea!” but I think I’ll just go with hell. This record of furiously doomy, deathy black metal has gotta catch ‘em all, and may well be my favourite ever thing that the folks at Profound Lore have ever released. It’s a record of such high grandiosity that I always feel stupendously tired after finishing a playthrough. It’s rare you find a band that can do everything Ash Borer do -- melodic and melancholy, they push blastbeats, crushing breakdowns and lamentably screamed ballads through the pearly gates. Uh, of hell.
They’re almost boasting with the dynamics here: every time you get settled on one of their extremities the tune switches, with proggy foresight, to something else -- from a slow death march of tick-tocking guitars and bell-tolled drums to a furious torrent of noisy, hardcore-inspired black metal, out into stormy drone rock dunes. “Lustration I” settles on an almost jazz metal avenue for the band, its mix of languishing chords and buzzing cricket noises recalling the kind of spacey musical architecture Kayo Dot might make.
The guitar slides are extremely good and make everything feel like the end of all hope in the most accessible way possible; those riffs, and their constituent place amongst marching drumbeats and crusty vocal scowls, make for a compelling and catchy record of metal’s harshest corners. ‘The Irrepassable Gate’ could just as well serve as an introduction to this sound as another banner release for its veterans. Just a very epic record.
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