Ash Borer: Cold Of Ages

Eco-conscious USBM crew embrace the art of recycling

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Listen to the music coming out of the West Coast underground these days, and you get the feeling that the entire seaboard is a devastated ecological wasteland populated by a few lost souls à la The Road. The alpha and the omega for this shattered, soul-heavy sensibility is, of course, Neurosis and Wolves In The Throne Room.

Nestled deeply with the bosom of those two entities is California’s Ash Borer, a spiritually devout five-piece, all of whom identify themselves by a single letter, and whose chosen mode of anonymity threatens to become the pertinent feature once the dust has settled after this album’s end.

Cold Of Ages is by no means a bad album, it’s just that all its parts are traceable, lacking the animating otherness so central to BM. Typically for the US variety, K’s voice is no force of nature so much as a disembodied holler at the mercy of the currents of guitars coursing over these four long tracks whose WITTR-aping rush, solemn aftershocks and gravitas-seeking female guest vocals lack only the force of revelation.

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.