Ashbringer
Absolution


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (291 Reviews)
September 3rd, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 06/28/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is absolution.

Ashbringer continue to expand on their soundscapes of black metal, diversifying the sounds found in the debut, Vacant and solidified within Yūgen. Absolution is the lampooning masterstroke that still manages to tease out the potential of this once solo project into generous offering of hybridized black metal. Absolution is the type of atmospheric black metal that appeals to a wider audience, namely in the fact that Ashbringer’s latest is detached from the norms of what the genre has offered, combining [in] parts of Agalloch, Alcest, Wolves In The Throne Room and Deafheaven. In this, the band’s sound manages to appeal to any number of niche landscapes within the black metal pool and lean on some really accessible and well executed ideas

Musically, Absolution is just as colourful as the cover suggests. Hues of green meld into semi-psychedelia that keeps its foundation of sound squarely footed in the acts mentioned above. It’s both a casual sensual listen and one that doesn’t forget the subtle shades of grey or the cold-snapped black metal stereotypes. In a similar vein to the band’s previous outings, Ashbringer continue a sense of lush musical transcendence that appeals to the enticing combinations of organic, wilderness focused music and a palette of dynamic cleans to overbear the harsher noises the genre is known for. It’s in this manner that Absolution’s title track starts the new album. Welcoming acoustics wrap around organic snare play as subtle melody becomes less so creating ample melancholy and hopeful atmosphere. But it’s the album’s focus on compositional dexterity which really carries the listener on this seventy minute journey of sweeping black metal aesthetic. “Eternal Separation Pt. 1” and its counterpart reinforce this lush landscape of musical sureness and help present Absolution’s distinctly stronger second half. The slightly more upbeat passages found in “Pt. 1” are juxtaposed with the near ambient wanderings of “Pt. 2”. A sixteen minute (both tracks together) rite of passage full of heavy sections, gorgeous keyboard sections and verdant leads. Ashbringer bring beauty with artistic flair spare.

There’s something completely rustic and not altogether polished about Ashbringer’s approach to Absolution’s versatile landscape. The high end tremolo guitar melodies occasionally dip into tinny nuance, the drums don’t always land where the listener would expect and Nick Strangers warbly black metal scream sits just on the edge of raw. One could say that Absolution is deliberately scabrous and is wholly more fecund because of it. The sum of all Absolution’s parts are deliberate, yet organic in their approach. Despite each track being longer than seven minutes (with“Dreamscape” coming in just over ten minutes) none of these tracks drag, preventing any base level of lethargic notion washing over the end result of this seventy (plus) minute record. Instead, the effect is rather inviting, living off the melodies that sit next to (rather than on top of) the album’s harsher moments. With Absolution, Ashbringer cement themselves as quiet achievers in the field of forlorn sounding black metal. Whether it be the enchanting rhythms found in “Wilderness Walk” or the wholesome simple positivity that floats throughout “Threshold Of Existence” there should be something here to appease many a black metal fan.



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user ratings (28)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 3rd 2019


10203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Could've taken the opportunity to use question marks again... didn't.



Listen here: https://ashbringermusic.bandcamp.com/album/absolution



TheNotrap
September 3rd 2019


11822 Comments


Don't know these guys, I might check this out.
Nice writing, as usual.



Digging: Vitriol (USA) - To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice

DungeonBoy
September 3rd 2019


6625 Comments


cool review dude, jammed this once when it came out and the claustrophobic compressed to all heck production ruins the experience. Sadly there might be some good music underneath.

Digging: Solstice (USA-FL) - Solstice

teamster
September 4th 2019


4340 Comments


Dammit. I pride myself knowing about the bands I like what they are up to. I either forgot about this or I had no idea. Excellent review and thanks.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2019


10203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think it slipped under a few people's radar considering it came out mid-May. Still fans shouldn't pass this up

NoHellsNoHeavens
September 4th 2019


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The drumming bothers me.

Digging: Shabti - Trembling and Shorn

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2019


10203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They're completely unorthodox at times

DungeonBoy
September 5th 2019


6625 Comments


Giving this another shot...

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2019


10203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

See how you go on another spin

Deathconscious
September 6th 2019


22230 Comments


i love that album cover.

Digging: Pyramidal - Pyramidal

DDDeftoneDDD
September 12th 2019


7235 Comments


This looks nice

Digging: Johnny Booth - Firsthand Accounts

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 12th 2019


10203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cover is really great.

Pikazilla
September 12th 2019


3580 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

These guys have stepped their game quite a bit since the debut.

hadriel
September 14th 2019


21 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Started listening to these guys with Yugen, which caught me by surprise as a really great 2016 release. This album is absolutely gorgeous, super melodic and just a lot of fun to listen to. This will definitely be somewhere near the top half of my 30 favorite 2019 releases.

teamster
September 15th 2019


4340 Comments


You know when Hadriel writes a comment, we better pay attention.



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