2015’s Nine Plagues was a striking record. Now, we’re treated to an equally striking two-track EP named The Alchemist.
Ashen Horde play progressive black metal with dark designs on both technicality and melody, although the former is much more prevalent in their sound than the latter.
No longer a single-man project, Ashen Horde sound wider and fuller on these two songs, and it’s only partly due to the well-rounded production.
The two tracks they give us are good examples of sharp black metal that is played with skill and razor blade precision. Crisp, black riffs and inhuman drumming assault the senses from the start.
As well as technical proficiency and cutting riffs, the band utilise blackened melody well, albeit not in a blatant way; most of the material here is frosted and cold to the touch, but warmer melodic moments can be heard and felt now and then.
Arisen is the longer of the two and boasts a groove-based approach that’s bladed and dangerous. The second and shorter track, Fallen, mixes grooviness, blast beats and a Fear Factory-esque sense of rhythmic mechanised hatred – it’s probably my favourite of the two songs.
This new material bodes very well for the future. If Ashen Horde’s new album continues the trend set on The Alchemist, then we’re in for quite a treat.
Snap this up.