Release Date: Aug 20, 2012
Record label: Profound Lore
The concept of American black metal, or USBM, has undergone a number of changes throughout its dawn in the late 1980s/early 90s. After leaping and bounding from the raw violence of San Francisco's VON to the primitive hatred of Chicago's Heidegger-referencing Judas Iscariot and Oakton, Va.'s politically unsavory Grand Belial's Key, then spiraling inwards into Xasthur's and Leviathan's yawning one-man Calif. voids and the foundation-shattering entity that was San Fancisco's atmospheric time-stretchers Weakling-- USBM has somehow ended up, at least in a stereotypical sense, somewhere between Berkeley and Brooklyn.
Review Summary: Ash Borer move up a rung in the black metal ladder while still remembering where they came fromThe evolution of Ash Borer from a band putting out releases on cassette tapes limited to 150 copies or less to being signed with one of the hottest metal labels around has come all within the span of four years – two if you count the time since they released their first demo. Some might argue that this is too soon, that such success is likely to ruin a band and the fact that they have actually started naming their tracks or cleaning up their production is a bad omen. It is true that Ash Borer are on their way up the ladder of American black metal – and have been for some time now – but it isn’t fair to say that a better mastering job would make their music worse, or that the format it is released on is likely to degrade its overall quality.
The US black metal scene is filled with headstrong, unique artists and wildly varying geographic and stylistic accents. However, for all its heterogeneousness, the scene has one common denominator; namely, that the artists within often follow their paths with a single-minded purity of vision. Bands may get knocked for being too urbane, bucolic or (gulp) transcendental, and easy tags are thrown about (glimpse of a tree line—it must be Cascadian) but there’s no doubt that the best bands have stayed true to their artistic ideals regardless of classification fuss and bother.