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The Ashen Tree : The Ashen Tree (EP)

Brief and technically proficient, The Ashen Tree's debut is a little too uplifting at times.

The Ashen Tree is a new Death/Doom duo that has sprung up with members both in India and Sweden. Their self-titled release does not have a label at the time of writing this review and I don't believe there's a physical copy of this release as of yet either so literally all I can review for you is the music.

As previously mentioned, The Ashen Tree plays Death/Doom although I have to say that it doesn't really have a Doom 'aura', if you will. As good as the guitar-work is at the intro of the first track, I really wouldn't been surprised if it was Liam Gallagher or Richard Ashcroft that started singing after it, if that makes sense. Indeed, I think that's the problem I have with this release - the music doesn't really suit the vocals. The idea of growled vocals is to portray something emotional, whether it's hateful, painful, vengeful, or simply passionate. When fusing that with more uplifting riffs than anything else, I find myself being rather confused.

I mean, I can't honestly say I've heard many 'uplifting' Doom tracks in my life because it goes against the grain in this genre for obvious reasons. I'm not one of the 'elitists' of this genre that rejects anything new but bands generally don't do it because it doesn't make sense. Technically speaking, I find there to be nothing wrong with the riffs nor the production but musically speaking, something doesn't quite fit here. To be honest, I think it's a shame that it doesn't 'fit' because there's really not much wrong with this self-titled release at all.

The Ashen Tree's approach is more up-tempo Death/Doom although certainly not in an aggressive diSEMBOWELMENT-esque manner. I'd perhaps compare them to some of the later Novembers Doom releases. The production is very clean and precise too. Sometimes the vocal 'layering' is a bit too smothering for my tastes but that's just me being picky, really. As I said earlier, the production on this release is really very good in general.

I'm here to review the music rather than advise but if it were up to me, I'd ask the band to focus more on the music demonstrated toward the end of the final track because the music is a lot more effective with clean vocals than harsh vocals. I think they either need to change their approach to maximise the effect of the growled vocals or change their vocals to create music that people can fully enjoy and perhaps even relate to. At the moment, they're drifting between both so I find it hard to rate this release highly, which again, is a pity because there's really not much wrong with it. The Ashen Tree is lacking only in a bit of direction, in my humble opinion.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Memories In Monochrome
2. The Hourglass
3. The Ashen Tree

Duration : Approx. 20 minutes

Visit the The Ashen Tree bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-06-08 by Ian Morrissey
Vanha - Black Lion
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