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Ashes To Ashes : Cardinal VII

According to themselves and their record company, Ashes to Ashes play Gregorian metal. What this means exactly isn't clear, but it is obviously meant to describe a certain atmosphere. Personally I think such an adjective is a bit farfetched for a progressive metal band like this, but I guess one has to stand out a bit these days.

All in all, this album is simply a very solid metal release. It contains elements of heavy metal, solid riffing, good use of keyboards, occasionally a good bit of plodding doominess and a smattering of 'Gregorian' vocals. The atmosphere is a bit on the religious side as well (not in a Christian kind of way, but rather in a cathedral/church kind of way), so that may account for the term 'Gregorian'. The vocals are always clean (this ain't no death album, y'know), but range from 'normal' singing to raw vocals (i.e. James Hetfield). None of it is in traditional heavy metal vocals.

The songs are quite varied. The album contains fast, hard-hitting songs ('Cardinal VII', 'New World Obscure', 'Ravenous Unleashed'), mid tempo or even doomy songs ('Embraced In Black', 'Truth On Scaffold') and even a real ballad ('Sic Transit Gloria Mundi').

To conclude, this is a well-written album from a relatively unknown band. I personally feel it lacks a bit of emotion most of the time, but this may be different for each listener. The music itself stands its ground, and this is an album that will stay upright where others fall.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. New World Obscure
2. Embraced In Black
3. Among Mortals
4. Truth On Scaffold
5. Iben
6. Dualism
7. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
8. Ravenous Unleashed
9. Behind Closed Eyes
10. Cardinal VII
11. Iben pt. 2

Duration : Approx. 59 minutes

Visit the Ashes To Ashes bandpage.

Reviewed on by Oscar Strik
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