The Pitch: "A harrowing, yet distinctly human odyssey through the absurdities and tragedies of British imperialism, voiced in an appropriately deranged sprechgesang by the band’s creative director, Alasdair Dunn." FFO A Forest of Stars.
What I Like: I adored AFOS's album Beware the Hand You Cannot See, and ever since then I have been craving similarly dramatic, verbiose black metal. Ashenspire has heard my call. Their sound is very similar; from the avant-garde spoken word vocal delivery to the violin additions. It's "classy" black metal meant to be listened to while drinking fine alcohol from a snifter in a silk robe before a marble fireplace. I don't have any of those things, so my cup of coffee and composite board desk will have to do. In any case, the arrangements are both lovely and bleak. I feel I will need to spend more time with this one to truly penetrate all that is within.
What I Don't Like: I do find myself asking whether this project has something to offer that AFOS does not, and the jury is still out. I wouldn't write this album off, but I am anti-redundancy wherever possible. I also don't think this release is as accomplished and readily emotive as BTHYCS, but it is a strong listen nonetheless.
The Verdict: Get out your candelabras and fine silver. This is quite the opposite of your Mayhems and Immortals out there. Ashenspire has more work to do when it comes from creating a true masterpiece, but I welcome the still relatively fresh approach and solid songwriting.
Flight's Fav's: Grievous Bodily Harmonies, Fever Sheds, A Beggar's Belief