Hot on the heels of the critically acclaimed Nine Plagues, Los Angles progressive black metal trio Ashen Horde is back to transmogrify you with the black sorcery of The Alchemist. Today, I have the distinct pleasure of premiering the second track from the upcoming EP, “Fallen.”
According to Transcending Obscurity label head Kunal, “Though often compared with Immortal/Abbath, Ashen Horde expand upon that sound by adding their own dissonant touches and off-kilter hooks to the template. The result is an intricate, hard-hitting and unpredictable slice of black metal that’s as memorable as it’s vicious.” While that description is certainly true, especially in the Immortal-esque riffs that open “Fallen,” this track is so much more.
Lurking just beneath the surface of the surprisingly catchy riffs is a progressive flair not unlike some of the more majestic songs penned by Opeth or even Enslaved. The icy melodies and mountainous, arching riffs certainly evoke the triumph and grandeur of extreme metal’s more progressive royalty, but what I especially like about this song is that the band isn’t merely content to ride that excellent riff all the way to victory. No, after a particularly sneering, “Bleeeechhh” about halfway through the track, that main glorious riff suddenly gets broken and battered by some nasty start-and-stop drumming with a headbangability that is impossible to deny. Over the course of just 4 minutes, Ashen Horde bring the riffs, melodies, majesty, and brutality. What more could you want?
If you dig what you hear, check out the other track from The Alchemist, “Arisen,” via Bandcamp here. You can pick up The Alchemist tomorrow, March 14th. Also, keep your eyes glued to Ashen Horde’s Facebook page for news of their upcoming full release from Transcending Obscurity. You won’t want to miss it.