Ash Borer – The Irrepassable Gate

Profound Lore Records
12/2016

“Listeners wanting a lengthy experience to consume – perhaps after ingesting Soma through a water pipe and nodding off to reruns of Legends of the Hidden Temple – will appreciate The Irrepassable Gate.”

Profound Lore Records
12/2016


The Irrepassable Gate
Lacerated Spirit
Lustration I
Grey Marrow
Rotten Firmament
Lustration II

The Irrepassable Gate, Ash Borer’s third full-length release, is a lengthy slab of guitar-driven avant-garde rock, with details of thrashing modernized black metal. As a presentation of a small number of songs serving as elongated and storied musical ideas, Ash Borer find themselves with a niche release that is accessible enough to be consumed across multiple genre fan bases. The modern production and song writing structures are characteristically American, fitting for the current wave of atmospheric, or otherwise trance-like, heavy metal bands operating in present day. Listeners wanting a lengthy experience to consume – perhaps after ingesting Soma through a water pipe and nodding off to reruns of Legends of the Hidden Temple – will appreciate The Irrepassable Gate.

The title track opens the record with Sabbathian chords lurching behind a symmetrical melody with a bell-like, twinkling quality to its tone. For the early part of the track, the song plays like still water on a windless night. A passive rhythm from the drums serves as a processional guide, paired with a distorted bass line, to move the song along a drone-like movement. The atmosphere is fostered by the composition and tonal properties of the guitars which creates an organic fog not readily reproduced on electronic mediums.  The general songwriting principle behind The Irrepassable Gate can be compared to liquid mercury droplets released onto a gradually sloped and recessed surface. Small ideas behind the songs sliding towards each other, forming into larger droplets. Eventually, all the individual droplets move on to create a single large scale puddle, or a musical phrase, that is the apex of the song.

‘Grey Marrow’ is another track that defines the concept of small ideas slowly merging into one cohesive musical axiom, as mentioned above. A hauntingly pleasant melody played over lurching chords, properly forming, playing out and terminating into a much faster and heavier phrase that carries over and characterizes the remainder of the song.

While the overall composition and structuring employed for the songwriting is formulaic, it does lend itself to charm after multiple listens of The Irrepassable Gate. The elongated tension and release of these songs gives them unique personality at the individual level and the length of each track allows the consumer to draw a sense of fraternity with them. The songs on The Irrepassable Gate play more like strangers blowing coke in the bar of a bathroom together than strangers casually passing each other on the street during their lunch breaks from their jobs as tie-wearers. It’s a gross relationship, but one that has a certain modest charm to it.

The production is favorable for this style of record. Ash Borer manage to create a captivating and abyssal atmosphere primarily through guitars. As a very riff driven record, the guitar tone is a powerful and compressed mid-range assault. The drums have a ‘bedroom recording’ feel to their sound. Vocals are drenched in reverb, shouted and tense. In summary, it’s garage level production…the garage is just located in a suburban cul-de-sac in a medium income neighborhood.

The Irrepassable Gate is a combination of riff driven rock and modern black metal with an emphasis on thrash. Clocking in at nearly an hour, spread across six tracks, Ash Borer’s latest record is more appropriate as a collective experience. If anything, The Irrepassable Gate is worth an hour of attention.

-A.Krause

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Author: A.Krause

Not human.

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