Dec 2022 01

Album CoverAshenspire
Album: Hostile Architecture
Category: Progressive / Experimental / Metal
Label: Aural Music
Release Date: 2022-05-27


 

This latest album from Scottish collective Ashenspire sits lofty upon the growing gamut of metal music. Nailing down a classification for Hostile Architecture proves to be difficult since although it is undoubtedly metal with all the trappings of heavy distorted outings, the album’s eight tracks take the listener across a spectrum of metal fusion without once sounding jarring or disjointed, coming off as an epic of sonic versatility. It would be a disservice to call the band progressive metal as that invokes Dream Theater and the like, and it’s not quite death or black metal despite the appearance of the occasional blastbeat. Avant-garde probably comes the closest to describing the music, with the odd frenetic, dissonant passage reminiscent of The End Records bands like Unexpect, but without being overly challenging or deviating from the song structures. The keen listener is likely to hear elements of Agolloch, Obscura, Neurosis, and Mastodon, to name a few, but the album doesn’t simply ape one style either.

One notable aspect to Hostile Architecture is in the production. With much less glitz and compression, very little synths, and absolutely no drum triggers whatsoever, the record hearkens to the days of early- to mid-‘90s metal, with the dynamics of the percussion perfectly audible and readily suited for the mood of the songs; not lo-fi, but simply lacking a lot of the bells and whistles available to today’s engineers. Also noteworthy are the album’s themes as Ashenspire is explicit in their views, and the subject matter is a prominent theme throughout, but without the feel of a true concept album. Rather than tackle age-old metal themes like death and Satanism, Hostile Architecture is an overtly passionate expression of the stark economic divide of modern-day capitalism. There are numerous instances of artful, expressive vocal performances like Beat poetry, which are both a lament for society’s rejection of the disadvantaged (the title itself refers to projects like adding iron armrests to benches to hinder the homeless), as well as a powerful paean to the prospect of a new way. Though that description may seem like an earful, Hostile Architecture is not hostile to the listener. It pushes boundaries without going too far into leftfield, its fast passages do not assault the listener with piercing trigger samples, and overall makes for a foray into dark, expressive metal with much variation, yet seamless flow. What it can and will offer listeners, however, is much food for thought.
 
Track list:

  1. The Law of Asbestos
  2. Béton Brut
  3. Plattenbau Persephone Praxis
  4. How the Mighty Have Vision
  5. Tragic Heroin
  6. Apathy as Arsenic, Lethargy as Lead
  7. Palimpsest
  8. Cable Street Again

 
Ashenspire
Website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram
Aural Music
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram
 
Ian Nolan (INolan)

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