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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Review: Goatpsalm & Horthodox – Ash

Label: Aesthetic Death / Death Scream Recordings

Date: October 1st, 2021

This is not what I bargained for. Not even close, but that’s what you get when you don’t check in advance. My black metal heart went into overdrive upon reading “goatpsalm” and naturally assumed it must be a feast of the most evil music invented by mankind. You would do so too, admit it. But be careful and read this small text first.

“Ash” is a recording collaboration between two Russian bands / projects. As far as I could gather, both of them are led by the same person who goes by the name Horth. I might be wrong here, but it is of lesser importance. Collaboration, meaning this is not a split release where bands submit their own songs, but a mixture of both bands on the same set of songs.

Again, as far as I could understand, Goatpsalm is handling the doom metal side of ambient music, while Horthodox is a more straight-forward ambient project. So, having “Ash” become an overly ambient record should come as no surprise. Doom, or funeral doom side of Horth’s personality rarely rears its head throughout these sixty two minutes of material. Also, it is made so it fits the rest of the album, not hurting the overall feel of it. Thus, I can easily dub this a completely ambient record, even if it occasionally uses traditional metal means.

Okay, truth be told, I’m no expert in such music and I will not pretend to fully understand the process of its creation. However, I’m fairly certain that it is not even meant to be explained or dissected into pieces, so that you might get a tighter grasp on what is happening here. This type of sound is mostly dedicated to the sonic enchantment of the listener and it falls upon every listener individually to make his own mind regarding the music itself and the feeling it gives off.

As for me, personally, I felt the “vacuum” of a deserted place, once teeming with life and all the ups and downs of civilization. But now deserted, emptied out, abandoned. On a more metal side of the recording I could clearly see the rusted hinges that once made Chernobyl a nuclear center of Russia. Within the clear, ambient pieces I could imagine a monastery left to rot (blame it on the mentioned black metal background of mine) into oblivion. Left to the skillful hands of the elements, the wind or rain and the all-consuming innards of nature.

But that’s just me. And I don’t even have a conclusion here. I can’t tell if this is a masterpiece or a blatant defecation on the genre. I have no merit when it comes to this kind of music.  I guess it all comes down to feelings of an individual and personal tastes. So, you go ahead and figure it out.

I love the artwork that comes with it, by the way.