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Ashen Mortality : Your Caress

Ashen Mortality deliver a top-notch second effort with 'Your Caress'. This Christian Death/Doom act might not sound too innovative anymore in this day and age with the alternating female/male vocals and grunts vs. (exceptionally Aaron of MDB. like) clean vocals. But remember that this CD was recorded back in 1998 towards the end of the hay days of death-doom. The overall quality also blows most competitors out of the water.

The album opens with a short, almost folk-like track, 'Broken Bonds'. This features just Melanie-Sarah's fragile vocals accompanied by acoustic guitars. The following tracks showcase some crushing death/doom-metal of the most intense sort. Tightly played, with every note just where it should be, Ashen Mortality showcases exactly how death/doom should be played. Crushing guitars, occasional haunting keyboard and a solid, mostly supportive rhythm section make up the bulk of the music. Lead guitarist and vocalist Ian Arkley's grunts remind me of Paul of November’s Doom fame, whilst his clean vocals alter between more sung vocals and more "whiny" My Dying Bride weeping vocals. Melanie-Sarah often accompanies Ian's vocals. However, she never really duals with him for dominance, but says in the background.

For those who prefer to compare bands to one another, early to mid-period November’s Doom is probably the best reference together with My Dying Bride. Ashen Mortality is however more accessible than either of these acts in my view. Where November’s Doom always had something hard to digest in their music, Ashen Mortality openly invites you to continue listening.

While there is little originality in the music, it honestly does not matter one bit here. The band clearly was inspired heavily by My Dying Bride, but they pull their sound off so skilfully that it absolutely does not matter. Of particular note is the ultra heavy riffing which is close to godly and has a rejuvenating effect on the listener. It simply sounds too good to stop listening. 'Your Caress' is heavy grinding ear candy with melodic elements. Can I have some more please?! Unfortunately it seems not, because after this release the band seems to have slowly disappeared without a whisper from the music radar.

You may have already guessed it; if you are into exceptionally high quality death/doom then Ashen Mortality's 'Your Caress' is simply an essential album. Do note that we are dealing with a Christian act here and the lyrics also reflect their worldview. Personally I don't have any problem with this as some of the best doom-metal to date has after all been made by Christian Doom acts. From Trouble to Paramaecium, there always has been high quality Christian Doom-metal and Ashen Mortality proudly joins these ranks. Do not, however, expect to hear something original. Who gives a damn though!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Broken Bonds
2. Your Caress
3. In Empty Eyes
4. My Reflection
5. From This Cage
6. Our Eden
7. Through The Vale

Duration : Approx. 37 minutes

Visit the Ashen Mortality bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Aldo Quispel
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