Ashen Horde boast current and ex-members of bands such as Abhoria, Norse, Somnium Nox, Inferi, Equipoise, and Virulent Depravity in their ranks, and we’ve met them before on Nine Plagues and The Alchemist. Now they’re back with Antimony, a 51-minute vision of gripping extreme metal, (49 minutes without the bonus Therapy? cover).
Taking a base of serrated modern black metal, Ashen Horde then add in a touch of melodic death metal vigour, and then enhance their offer further with progressive and technical wizardry.
Ashen Horde’s new album is their most expansive and distinguished yet. Each track has a well-drawn personality of its own, and feeds into a multifaceted framework of blackened extremity that’s engaging and compelling. The music is well-written and structured, offering viral aggression mixed with progressive depth. There are more hooks than you might imagine; sometimes a soaring clean vocal, sometimes a killer riff, sometimes a winding melody. These infest the album like jagged spikes waiting patiently for the listener. Antimony grows on you over time as these hooks work their way further and further into your brain.
The songs are detailed and complex, with nuanced dynamics and ferocious bite. Sharp melodies slip and slide like glass through flesh. The vocals are a barrage of blackened screams, malevolent growls, or expressive cleans, and they all do their jobs very well.
There’s an aggressive dark heart at the core of Antimony. Despite its malefic musical enrichments, sometimes it just needs to lash out viciously with its bladed claws, and it does this frequently across the record.
Antimony is Ashen Horde’s best work so far. Packed with strong songs and well-realised ideas, Antimony is an album that I urge you to spend some quality time with.
Very highly recommended.