ASHENSPIRE — Hostile Architecture (review)

ASHENSPIRE — Hostile Architecture album cover Album · 2022 · Avant-garde Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
When you can't see the stars, you stop dreaming of space

For a band to not only reach the bar set for avant-garde metal by Kayo Dot and maudling of the Well, but to also put another brick on this wobbly Jenga tower of a genre, without making it fall apart, is no small achievement. To simultaneously turn the whole thing into a poignant left-wing manifesto borders on a miracle. And yet here we are, looking at a perfectly fine Jenga tower.

Conceptually, Hostile Architecture is a searing critique of late capitalism and its urban manifestations, brutal and classist by design. You will both bang your head and shake your fist at the nearest anti-homeless bench. Musically, it's a festival of masterfully repurposed influences (notably KD and A Forest of Stars) that ends up being way more than the sum of its parts. You will recognize the elements but also appreciate how fresh they sound together. Emotionally, it's a furious protest against injustice, oppression and chauvinism of all kinds. The ferociousness of black metal is given new meaning here and chamber music arrangements provide it with gravity.

Personally, I feel like Hostile Architecture reopened wounds that had already started to scar up with indifference and I feel strangely thankful. The world may be doomed, but music like this is a reminder that social resistance is not only necessary. It can also be beautiful.
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16 days ago
I'm a lurker on ProgArchives. I find it a bit intimidating to review there haha. I've written stuff for Sputnikmusic but if its metal I'll post it here first then attribute it to MMA when posting there. I may delete/rewrite some of my early ones as I feel I've improved significantly in the two years I've been writing.
Tupan wrote:
16 days ago
Oh, I see! Are you on ProgArchives or JazzMusicArchives too?
16 days ago
I may do Bruno but I have several reviews in various stages of progress at the moment I would like to complete first. I have serious writers block at present. I have been writing some reviews for other genres to take a break from writing about metal
Tupan wrote:
17 days ago
Write a review too, Mark!
18 days ago
Glad this got a review and one that does it justice. Great album from a band from my home city.
Tupan wrote:
19 days ago
Yes, it's a very relevant subject nowadays, and they wrote some strong lyrics about.
bartosso wrote:
19 days ago
Thank you, my friend :) this is a special one for me, definitely the best metal album I've heard in a long time, and I listened to quite a few very good ones this past couple of years. I also find the concept incredibly commendable and still quite fresh in the context of black metal.
Tupan wrote:
19 days ago
Excellent review, I need to listen to it again!


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