Though this may seem somewhat ignorant to many, it’s a fact I never take minor, unsigned bands too seriously, and especially if they complete newcomers to the scene; much like Philadelphia’s Ashencult. Honestly, Dissection worshipping isn’t a thing as popular as the other trends plaguing the scene today, and for one, I’ve never quite found myself immersing in these bands, and therefore I can wholeheartedly admit that what Ashencult gouges is not just simple gimmicking, but an embellished and creative display of their love the monumental black metal act, and it’s one paean that withstands the rape of many irrelevant obstacles and clichés that generally restrict many acts from gaining and culminating their nature with full force. To sum up, Ashencult delivers a most classic edge of black metal in a robust way, pursuing near-perfection.
Watain, Sacramentum, Dissection. All are undoubtedly important pieces in the construction of Ashencult’s formula on their debut full-length ‘’Black Flame Gnosis’’, but each brick used in the architecture is doused with the band’s entertaining twists and turns, and with captivating distinction readied from the start, Ashencult sounds like an impressive congealment of multiple inflections and often it opts from its extensive set of aspects, elements and tricks, and pours a little bit of each in inadequate portions to build up the songs, and once mixed with aural effects the album sounds truly well-constructed and professional sounding. The convocation of numerous styles is what enables Ashencult’s music rich, flavoured and deliberately consuming, wallowing. However, besides the elements that the band snatches from certain sources, there is a crucial aspect that renders the largest portion of the album eloquent and embracing; atmosphere.
The melodic black metal inclinations that ‘’Black Flame Gnosis’’ possesses are incredible. Each melody pattern is executed with astute precision and suffuses over the pervasive dissemination of chords, melodies and other violent discharges, and they dive through the thick, enclosing fragments of ambiance to make their way to the listener’s ear first, ultimately serving as a swerving arrow narrating the entire movements of the riffs. When the mournful melodies are not there to guide the riffs into triumph, the band unleashes a rupture of bulky patterns and savage black/thrash riffs, aiming to make amends for the lack of melody with carnal, sinister brute force, which they undeniably exceed in. With such a perverse gait set for the riffs to perform and travel in, the album effortlessly bounces from a barbaric black/thrash incursion to dispersing black metal attack to a Dissection-esque melodious tremolo progression, enthralling whilst smothering in infernal black metal.
Ashencult puts the final brick in place for the ultimate experience; the vocals. The cavernous, subterranean rasps are nothing new to me just as they are nothing new to the majority of black metal fans, but such harsh, shrill and encompassing rasps cannot be skipped without praise. The vocals boundlessly shift through the tremolos and as if you don’t have enough to behold and immerse yourself in, they make the album a whole lot bleak, and a whole lot cold, as much of the band’s desolate, sombre approach comes from the remote rasps the vocalist lets out. I’ve seen bands emerge from the underground abruptly and produce mighty fine efforts, but even the better bands in the field leave a couple of demos behind, which is proof that they have some experience. I’m not sure whether Ashencult’s members are veterans of the genre’s bleak, fuzzy aesthetics, but all the blatant proof is before us, the proof that leads to the verdict that Ashencult produced the most unpredicted and impressive debut release of the year. I cannot recommend this enough for fans of grandiose atmospheres and melodious, solemn black metal. Indulge yourself, now.
And as if the band didn't do enough, they're offering their WHOLE album for free. Go get it now and give away a few bucks to support their cause.
Race Of The Blood Insane
A Glorious Elegy
Dark Law/Black Fires Of Chaos