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Ash of Ashes – ‘Traces’

Kalthallen Tonträger/Lichtpfade
Bathory, Moonsorrow, Hel, DoomSword, Draugûl
Release Date
Kalthallen Tonträger/Lichtpfade
Epic Pagan Metal

Hel were well respected amongst fans of pagan black metal with the German band delivering a series of hotly received albums in the last 20 years. However, following their split in 2012, Skaldir has taken his time, gathering his thoughts before returning with Ash of Ashes (AoA) and after a well-received debut album 2018, the German band are back with their sophomore album ‘Traces’.

                What ‘Traces’ shows are AoA truly breaking their black metal bonds and creating something truly excellent. ‘Traces’ manages to win over its listeners by creating an intense atmosphere which might as well say: “c’mere laddie” as Skaldir and Morten pat the rocks beside them on a cold starry night with only light coming from the warm glowing fire. From here, ‘Traces’ tells a skald of epic proportions as tracks such as ‘The Eternal Traveller’, ‘Vemm kan segla förutan vind’ and ‘To Those Long Forgotten’ take the listener on a journey of pagan metal which is dripping in emotion. Are they tears? No, of course not, it’s just… mead… mead dripping down my beard!

Yes, there are elements of atmospheric black metal here and an instrumentation which takes in sounds that would appeal to fans of folk/metal but AoA have delivered an excellent album of epic skaldic metal. Sure, it won’t win any accolades, but any fans of this genre who pick up this album will find a fantastic record that is playable over and over again.

"a fantastic record that is playable over and over again"

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