If you ask me how I feel about the idea of B-side tracks, I’d say it’s a very unfortunate thing albeit necessary. I’ve always found it best when band’s make it known that they’ve always something we’ve never heard. Some groups choose to wait years until presenting unreleased tracks, others prefer to release a few tracks at a time to serve as special little releases. For Ashen Horde, they’ve gone with the latter to give us a 2-track 7″ that’s no less than extremely tasteful.
I find it very easy to just throw together any two tracks you please, slap them onto a vinyl, and simply throw it at your fan base to give them another thing to hopefully buy. But that’s a very shitty way of doing things, isn’t it? Luckily, Ashen Horde didn’t take that route. Instead, this progressive black metal duo brings to us two songs that fit perfectly together as well as follow the same theme, and that really helps bring together “The Alchemist”, their aforementioned upcoming 7″. What we get here are two very finely polished pieces of forward-thinking black metal that can be both melodic at times plus a general sense of expertise that comes from Ashen Horde grinding away for absolute years by constantly putting out new material. And do not think that when I say “progressive” or “forward-thinking” that Ashen Horde as anything like clean vocals, Petrucci levels of guitar work, or additional instruments; all of “The Alchemist” is undoubtedly black metal but Ashen Horde doesn’t let the confines of general black metal keep them tied down to any one sound. The duo isn’t afraid to think outside the box and try to create a different yet familiar experience the likes of which not many bands can do. “The Alchemist”, though, shows that Ashen Horde is still in the process of refining their style to create something that truly stands out, and I firmly believe this 7″ is mere steps away from something mind boggling.
I’d consider this little piece more of a teaser than anything else. A teaser of what? Well, of future material, naturally! “The Alchemist” is a very nice addition to the already formidable and notable catalog that Ashen Horde has created over the years, and shows that they are still yet getting better. Perhaps we’ll see very soon how much better these Americans have become . . . very soon, indeed . . .
“The Alchemist” releases on March 14th!
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