Released: 2002, DVS
Damn, if the new label DVS, isn’t becoming one of the coolest new record labels in my mind. The good people who brought us Wolverine scooped up the relatively unknown Ashes To Ashes and signed them for a two-album deal. Excellent. Now I have go find the debut, cuz I really like this CD. I’m basing my comments on the promo copy that was lent to me by a friend but I’m sure the packaging and so on will be the same high standard that DVS did for their other bands, and I can tell you that the cover has a cool demon, monk type dude on the front.
This band is multi-faceted, dynamic, talented and interesting. The Bio says they have been called “Gregorian Metal” which at first seems like a lame attempt to distinguish this band but the label is also cool because it really fits. The range and depth of the variety of male voices on this thing are impressive. I counted at least five or six distinctly different vocals styles on the various songs, not band coming from a four piece. I hear shades of Steele, Johnsson and Ribeiro, putting vocalist, Kenneth Brastad in an elite class while the other members provide excellent backing vocals.
Hard to describe these guys as they have many styles and sounds but they are not schizophrenic but rather combined into a nice cohesive whole. I heard touches of doom, death, gothic, thrash, traditional metal and prog! The wide variety of styles gives it the potential to splinter into an unlistenable mess but the band keeps it tight and driving in most instances, except maybe in a couple of the longer songs. There is a long song called, “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi” which is about 13 minutes long which is frankly, dull and for me one of the weak points on the disc. This is an odd feeling for me because I like long songs, in fact, I often champion them while others criticize them, yet this song was about 7 minute too long. Fortunately they tear back with the 2:20 minute instrumental burner, “Ravenous Unleashed”. The last track, “Iben Part @” is a nice instrumental closer with haunting cello and piano.
Overall the production is warm and embracing the piano and multi-layered vocal style really sets this band apart from many of the other gothic type bands out there. I’m looking forward to hear more form this act (and label) and you should as well. Check them out at http://www.dvsrecords.com