Released: 2015, Primal Relics Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
What has kept me into the world of metal for many years now, is the ever flowing river of fresh new blood who bring a healthy new dose of talent to the ever beating heart of the metal canon. And it seems from that river, the crème de la crème has been extracted. By that I mean that the latest band to blow me away consists of an 18 year old man from Minnesota, who has taught me how to personify nature into an audible masterpiece. Here we have Ashbringer and its first full length album: VACANT.
Where do I begin on this gem? Everything about it is simply beautiful to the ear – I put Falls of Rauros as the best new discovery of last year and I now know whom their latest rival is. Ashbringer is a classic example of a band who know what they’re doing and they won’t slip up anytime soon.
Opening this masterpiece we have the ‘Ethereal Aura’, split into two tracks. The first part sounds like a flowing river of synthesisers and excellent distortion which had me thinking of fellow USBM one man group Utstott several times. If you like that band, imagine them without the Norse mythology. Then we cut into part 2 where we are greeted with ethereal tranquillity. Imagine wandering through a vast lonesome forest on a warm summer’s eve. Then it cuts to an avalanche of excellent black metal similar to Earth and Pillars and Wolves in the Throne Room.
‘Lucid’ then gave me the impression of a forest blowing in the wind. This guy is from Minnesota, not far from the Canadian border, so maybe he’s retelling the many times he’s seen such amazing forests swaying in the breeze. This is a band obsessed with nature, and the natural talent of this guy really conjures up images of natural beauty.
‘With Vacan Eyes’ and ‘Lonesome’ made me shiver in delight. Being able to make the listener feel chilled out and then pumped with anticipation is quite an achievement not many bands are capable of. This was when I knew this album was onto a winner. Having a great deal of appreciation for the natural world around me, anyone who can write a beautiful symphony on it with use of the greatest metal music ever conceived is a real master of ideas. ‘Lonesome’ also gave me an impression of vast caverns and dark tunnels – no stone left unturned there.
‘Bitter’ then ends this masterpiece with a galloping black metal drive. This guy knows where to put the right elements of this music and his timing is perfect. The songs aren’t too long nor too short and the melodies mix well together like an exquisitely prepared gourmet meal.
This band has a long and fruitful future ahead. If you can wow the world at such a young age, Ashbringer will be here for many years to come amassing a strong following. It’s been a pleasure to hear this release – good luck for the future.
Review by Demitri Levantis