Ash of Ashes – Traces Review

It’s so funny how sometimes I walk from a quirky album to another. The difference is only the level of quirkyness – yeah, this term exists. I checked. And the kind of mix the bands do. As I believe in todays metal music everything is possible I don’t strange those albums that much. Well, of course just a little bit depending on the level of quirkyness. But, as a rule, I don’t get so puzzled or uncomfortable. The thing is that it takes some time to figure out what the hell the bands are doing. Just that. Even an experience reviewer gets puzzled sometimes with what he’s listening. This is the case here with Ash of Ashes “Traces” which brings one additional problem: this album changes a lot from opening track “Beyond White Waters” to the grand finale “To Those Long Forgotten.” And when I say changes a lot it means that it is very difficult to know Ash of Ashes’ deal.

After hearing all the album, I reached a conclusion about Ash of Ashes deal. It’sd a Progressive Blackened Melodic Death Metal with dashes of Epic and some Doom Metal. Ah, never forget the Symphonic traits from the grand finale “To Those Long Forgotten.” Wow! Pretty much it. By the way, this last track sounds a lot as if it were from the show “The Last Kingdom.” Check it out its final with the female voice chanting. If it’s not it it’s very near. From the beginning “Traces” showcases its epic and medieval music influences. “Beyond White Waters” tells this tale very well with its mooding intro that addresses to a far land in the seashore – I don’t where I got this idea, but it fits pretty much well. The track is only chantings. Then comes “Under the Midnight Sun” that is an exciting Modern Black Metal tune with the accelerated guitars and harsh vocals interwoven with the chantings. That’s where I got the idea of a blackened album. Maybe not to adequate, but it seems like a good idea.

Epic is the tone that links all the album. Tracks like “Into Eternity” have those posed vocals that gives all the drama – in the good sense – the band wants to pass the fans. Add to that the very melodic guitars and here it is what Ash of Ashes have of more personal. The medieval traits come from here. The doom atmosphere comes from “Evermore.” Just check it out. The guitars phrases here have something of Scorpions. Well, to be completely honest all the track addresses to Scorpions.

Here we’ve got a dense album which refuses to be properly labeled and a band that does its best to follow these directions. That’s a great thing, if I may in these days when everything seems to be tried or done.

Ash of Ashes “Traces” will be released on May 13th.

Track Listing:

  1. Beyond White Waters (instrumental)
  2. Under the Midnight Sun
  3. Into Eternity (feat. Lars Jensen)
  4. The Eternal Traveller
  5. Evermore
  6. Vem kan segla förutan vind (trad., feat. Thomas Clifford)
  7. A Lion Guards Our Names
  8. Southbound
  9. To Those Long Forgotten (feat. Rúnahild & Christopher Rakkestad)

Watch “Into Eternity” official video here: