Ash Borer has been on my radar since 2011 though I can’t quite recall its origin. Regardless of how they made an imprint, the dark, cold and isolate vibe Arcata, California’s Ash Borer gave, has followed me ever since and I was stoked to hear they were releasing a new EP.
Superior to their self-titled full length in sound quality and successfully distinguished instrumental density, Ash Borer’s “Bloodlands” EP, released on Gilead Media, March 1st, 2013 notes the bands continual work ethic, releasing something each year since 2009. Clocking in at 34:37, this record was done live off the floor, leaving little rooms for nit picking in the editing process but making for a more cohesive record as a whole. Considering the track lengths, I commend them in their ability, along with the sound engineer to capture such spotless takes.
‘Oblivion’s Spring’ flows in mysteriously, layered in silky waves of milk and mercury. Senses are weakened, speech is trivial as you submit and search for some comfort to suckle. Consistency was no challenge for Ash Borer’s M. Though less diverse perhaps that some of their previous work, the drumming on this album offers some solid, nail driving double bass in conventional black metal styling. Something that diehards can hold on to while they move forward with some of the most interesting black metal to emerge in this decade out of the U.S. along with bands like Deafheaven and Wolves in the Throne Room. Guitar riffs veer from ethereally mystic to chaotic fuzz. Vocals search waves to try and crawl to the surface but are dragged under the guitars, remaining buried.
Quivering beams of sound radiate from the right and slither as a serpent in search of prey. A screech of feedback confronts its drive and soft waves of ambient synthesizer peel away its lifeless layer. Drum beats are clear before they break a sense of calm and once again, the blackness becomes all-encompassing in its crusted elegance. ‘Dirge/Purgation’ brings enough variation to the table to create an engaging nineteen and a half minutes of somber mystery that easily re-listenable; a feat at which Ash Borer has been steadfast.
“Bloodlands” 12” is currently available for pre-order through Gilead Media and I highly recommend picking up a copy to show the band your support. Whether it be your introduction to the band or a continuation to your past infatuation, Ash Borer have not skipped a beat and continue to be one of the most interesting acts in post-black metal to date.