Style: Folky Atmospheric Black Metal
Similar bands: Summoning, Moonsorrow, Caladan Brood
Release date: 29.09.2020
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Fortunately, this truism is also and especially applicable to our music. Metal doesn’t have to be perfect or professional to fill the listener with enthusiasm.
And this is exactly what applies to the Atmospheric Black Metal duo ASHLANDS, who unleash a storm of enthusiasm in me, although I am well aware that their releases are not exactly perfect …
The passion of the two Italians for what they do can be felt in every written note, every played guitar and keyboard tone, every croaked line of lyrics and even in every programmed beat of the drum computer on the four songs of “II”. The fact that the quality of both the musical performance and the production fluctuates cannot be ignored. But this is exactly what makes this EP authentic and special. Especially since there is nothing wrong with the compositions themselves – on the contrary.
The fantasy fans from Umbria are unleashing the second part of a planned trilogy here. If you compare this release with its predecessor, you will notice the increased amount of hardness and speed, as well as that the songs, despite all the epic and folky playfulness, get to the point more directly. The folky keyboards (behold the mighty oxymoron!) are still there, but are less prominent and sound more targeted and, above all, less cheerful than on “I”. Also, I can’t hear as many stylistic elements of Melodic Death Metal as on the debut. Thus, the band now wanders more clearly on the path of the alleged boundaries of the genre. SUMMONING, MOONSORROW and CALADAN BROOD are appropriate comparisons here. Whether this (further) development can be traced back to a learning process, or whether it is a planned component of the trilogy’s concept, will perhaps become clearer when “III” will have been released.
It doesn’t always take musical skills at the highest level (and certainly not a glossy production) to spark enthusiasm in the listener. At the end of the day, what really matters in Metal is passion.