Chipping away at the putrid exterior, Antimony (Transcending Obscurity) is Ashen Horde tackling a litany of musical techniques, touching upon elements of technical black and death metal. In doing so, guitar solos feel completely organic; the drums drive the rhythms throughout; and the sheer blasphemy housed within the guitars is palpable.
Note that “technical” is used here to a lesser – albeit still effective – degree. The complexities reside not in kaleidoscopic shredding but in purposeful, artisanal arrangements. The elongated run-times allow for tracks to achieve stability with a foundation to rely on.
Ashen Horde is not hellbent on relying on speed or volume. At times sloggy and slow-tempo, Antimony introduces teeth-shattering licks, boppy percussion lines, and septic screeching. The strings on ‘Animus Nocendi’ are sneaky Luciferian, bolstered by declarative, titular grunt-chanting.
For all his demonic predilection, guitarist and clean vocalist Trevor Portz imbues the fourpiece’s fourth full-length with sultry, smooth-to-the-touch melodies. It never feels extemporaneous or diluting. And the group’s personnel reshuffling has enabled Portz to focus more on guitars, as opposed to in the 2010s when he was in charge of all the instruments, as well as vocals.
Ashen Horde fit superbly into the Transcending Obscurity mold – forthcoming, acerbic, passionate. Antimony is largely a record that both acts as a crusty death metal album and a methodical conglomeration.
Not to mention the extensive experience the Hollywood-based group boasts. Rounded out by vocalist Steve Boiser, drummer Robin Stone and bassist Igor Panasewicz, Ashen Horde has collectively made their presence felt in other acts such as Abhoria, Inferi, Vale Of Pnath, Obscura, and Vulvodynia, to name but a few.
In any event, the band logo (accidentally or intentionally) seems to resemble the facial features of an insect or a bug. That in itself is metal enough for this writer.
Buy the album here:
7 / 10