Since bands like Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord showed the way how to incorporate dead cold dissonant melodies to black metal, there’s been nothing but a flood of bands utilizing similar atonal melodies and chord progressions. And why not, after all it fits very well to the concept of malicious, twisted black metal. But how easy it is, then, to make a truly successful release by just plucking those sinister melodies with heavy distortion? The lately reviewed Evangelivm lacked the spark of originality, and when it comes to Necronoclast’s latest offering Ashes, I’m not entirely convinced either.
Because, ultimately, Ashes lacks that originality too. These 45 minutes wander nicely in middle or fast tempos, a mysterious atmosphere in presence throughout. The drums are very visibly programmed, creating a mechanized and industrial feel to the album, not unlike Blut Aus Nord, but also not unlike sounding a little cheap because I’m not sure if this industrial feeling is made consciously or couldn’t he just find a real drummer. However it is, the result sounds fairly bland. To mention one more negative side, the mid-range screams sound somewhat powerless and far from the cold atmosphere the instrumentation creates.
Now that the usual nagging is done, I can say that Ashes is still a decent piece that just could do a lot better. When playing this album, it doesn’t harass me at all but the same time it does very little to me - hence reminding me indeed of the recent encounter with Evangelivm’s debut. Naming standout moments is hard but I could mention ”Kajicnicke Saty” due to its guitar solo in the end which works rather nicely. All in all, Ashes is an okay album that I would keep in my shelves for an occasional listen, but remember not to expect anything truly innovative from this.