Ayr – The Dark

Review Date: September, 2020
Released: 2020, Wolves of Hades
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Pete Mutant

Ayr, you ever been there? Pretty bleak and miserable place on the west coast of Scotland. I live not too far away so I know this to be true. Ayr (the band) though, are not from the area and are most likely not named after the place despite their music’s affinity with the aforementioned bleak and miserable area. Apologies to those from Ayr (the place) as it ain’t all that bad, neither are Ayr (the band) though I can’t say it’s enthralling music.

The band are from Charlotte, North Carolina and had a fairly lengthy hiatus. They paused the band back in 2011 and reformed back in 2018 and ‘The Dark’ is the culmination of all the time and effort put back into the band up until this point. It has been nine years since their last release, the third of three EP’s in ‘Nothing Left To Give’. It now seems they have found something more to give and this has resulted in their first full length.

The three piece have created six tracks which vary mainly in duration rather than in style. The shortest track is our opener at just over two and a half minutes and the longest clocks in nearly at eleven minutes long. The band certainly know when and where to build the music up, to break it down, to tear and spread each passage in a tattered stream of dark threads that twist and blow with a light breeze or tumultuous gusts.

The opening track puts in more force whereas the longest track, ‘Where Light Dies’, spills out slowly with more textured and atmospheric notes and percussion. The elemental nature of some of these tracks is gripping to the point where Rick Contes’ vocals tear through the sound. The guitars are, at points, used to build walls of sound which can drive and saturate the music, or to add delicate notes which galvanises the synths. As mentioned, it’s pretty bleak music and not very heavy metal at all.

So, not heavy metal but part of a very modern turn for many bands that go for the melancholic and raw emotional side of music. It’s not a type of music that I personally like and couldn’t really stand through another show with bands such as Ayr. There are heavier bands such as Wolves In The Throne Room that I prefer but it’s still not my scene and Ayr haven’t won me over. Still, it’s not bad but just not great enough to win me over but it will appeal to those who need this type of emotive music in their life. Just not for me.



01. Origins in Descent
02. Where All Light Dies
03. Worship the Dark
04. Swallowed
05. Return to the Void
06. Sever the Golden Chain

Band line-up:

Rick Contes – Guitars, vocals
Ben Gascho – synths
Randall Flagg – Drums



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