Following on from 2019’s well-received Plague, Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth contains 32 minutes of anger and violence.
The music of Mastiff is the music of hatred. This is a record filled with negativity and darkness, and the songs express this in uncompromising, brutal terms. Blackened hardcore, ugly sludge, and raging grindcore are brought together under one snarling aegis, and the results are devastating.
Mastiff know their way around music like this, and are well aware that the key to longevity is songwriting and the right amount of nuance. This allows for the creation of an album that does more than just smash your head in with brute force. Bleak atmosphere and dark emotion seethe around the edges like circling predators. They’re sometimes allowed to go on for the kill, producing mood-focused songs like the unsettling opener The Hiss, the stalking doom-crawl of Futile, or the corrosive closer Lung Rust.
Hot-blooded feral aggression sits alongside cold, detached, merciless precision. Mastiff have a varied toolbox when it comes to extremity. The brutal heaviness of Mastiff’s gloomy heart is occasionally augmented by less-direct methods. Atypical riffs or twisted guitar parts that add layers to the crushing base layer of the music appear here and there, increasing the replayability of the tracks. You could be listening to savage blasting grindcore one minute, crushing groovy sludge the next, a doom-drenched wave of nightmare after that, or a bleakly dark multi-genre assault of jagged riffs and spitting barks. Whatever the band end up doing, their songs are never not effective.
Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth marks the emergence of a newer, more confident sounding Mastiff. Although not wildly dissimilar to Plague, the latest Mastiff record is just bugger and better in all regards.
If you’re a fan of underground extremity then Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth is an essential listen.