Album Review – When Ashes Are Rising / Of Earth and Men (2017)

Witness the fall of everything the virus called “man” has created through the eyes of a raging five-piece Italian Metalcore act.

“You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Formed in 2014 with ex-members of underground Italian bands Absence (Torino), Cybercage (Sassari) and OxC (Sassari), here comes Italian Death Metal/Deathcore act When Ashes Are Rising, commonly referred to as W.A.A.R. or WAAR, and their brand new album, titled Of Earth and Men. After a more Hardcore-oriented first self-titled EP, the band decided they wanted to go for a more old school Metalcore sound heavily influenced by the Swedish metal scene, with bands like In Flames, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility, and, above all, At The Gates, being the source of inspiration for this promising Sassari-based group.

And their music is more than just your regular Metalcore, being a strong and austere social and political message for all mankind. W.A.A.R. believe in the total collapse of all the powers that make every human being a slave, from the very moment you are born until you die; they believe in the destruction of all the systems that enslave us through imposition and violence, and in the fall of everything the virus called “man” has created, constantly raping Mother Earth. Featuring a classy artwork by Emanuele Gutierrez, Of Earth and Men is the perfect musical representation of the band’s core essence and beliefs, with its mix of aggressive sounds and a very cohesive narrative sending a powerful and disturbing warning about the imminent doom of our decaying society.

The instrumental intro Of Earth And Men, featuring futuristic elements mixed with some gentle piano notes, is a good warm up for the belligerent Gaia’s Revenge, a Deathcore onrush with xZEDx as a guest vocalist and blending the melody of Metalcore with the sheer aggressiveness of Death Metal, all led by the rabid riffs by guitarists Giuseppe and Delio which end up supporting the maniacal growls by frontman Afshin in a powerful way. The following tune, titled W.A.A.R., presents a violent instrumental with the pounding drums by Nico elevating the song’s hostility to a whole new level while Luca smashes his bass guitar, generating a tempestuous sounding perfect for Afshin to explain to the listener who W.A.A.R. are through his deep guttural (“When Ashes are Rising. / I used to watch you walk among the trees / while they offered you their fruits / and now I see you abuse each other / You live on materialism / the true richness of the soul / you forget you erected / physical and mental cages / in a world with no borders / has this eternal misery killed your compassion?”).

In Dust Diamonds, featuring guest musician Blasi (Strength Approach) on additional vocals, their demented assault of Deathcore goes on in a fast-paced turmoil of nonstop beats and fills, crushing riffs and endless stamina, highly recommended for slamming into the pit; whereas Extinction, featuring guest guitarist Zack Cignetti (Tomorrowillbeworse), is another melodic tune where Afshin sounds possessed while Giuseppe and Delio continue to pierce our ears with their venomous strings, not to mention the song’s menacing aura. And this amazing quintet knows how to externalize their fury and hatred against what’s wrong in our society through their unrelenting metal music like what we see in After Tomorrow. In other words, get into the circle pit or simply bang your head nonstop to this solid tune full of metallic guitar lines, precise beats and unfriendly growls.

Then in Prelude To Life we’re treated to a futuristic instrumental bridge that connects to the final chapter in Of Earth and Men, the thoughtful and demolishing chant Life Will Find A Way, which not only showcases interesting and somewhat melancholic lyrics (“Our sacrifice was inevitable / but filling the void of a loss is hard / for she lost her children / and is left alone to cry. / They raped her, robbed her / she fed them anyway to sustain their reigns. / They raped her, robbed her / she fed them anyway, life will find a way.”), but its sounding also gets closer to pure Death Metal before becoming a modern display of Metalcore. Moreover, Afshin goes absolutely mental with his deep growls, while Nico’s double bass adds tons of fury to the musicality.

You can find all details about W.A.A.R. on Facebook, and buy Of Earth and Men through their BandCamp page, as well as through the Bound By Modern Age Records’ BandCamp or webstore. As time goes by, I feel more and more convinced that our society as we know it is coming to an inevitable and unpleasant end, and perhaps the extinction of the human race is exactly what needs to happen for the world to restore its peace and balance, especially because our current situation is far, far away from being sustainable. In case you agree with that concept and you love heavy music at the same time, the music by W.A.A.R. might become the perfect soundtrack for you while you witness our society crumbling to pieces.

Best moments of the album: Gaia’s Revenge and Extinction.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Bound By Modern Age Records

Track listing
1. Of Earth And Men 1:56
2. Gaia’s Revenge (feat. xZEDx) 4:20
3. W.A.A.R. 3:46
4. Dust Diamonds (feat. Blasi) 3:02
5. Extinction (feat. Zack Cignetti) 4:16
6. After Tomorrow 3:04
7. Prelude To Life 1:32
8. Life Will Find A Way 5:02

Band members
Afshin – vocals
Giuseppe – guitar
Delio – guitar
Luca – bass
Nico – drums

Guest musicians
xZEDx – additional vocals on “Gaia’s Revenge”
Blasi – additional vocals on “Dust Diamonds”
Zack Cignetti – guitar solo and outro section on “Extinction”

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Album Review – Through Chaos & Solitude / The Thawing Winds Of The Morning Sun EP (2017)

A classy and meaningful Melodic Black Metal project aiming at opening our eyes and show us that we, mankind, are our own blessing and our own curse.

“The thawing winds of the morning sun is us. Mankind. We are our own blessing and our own curse. We are the stroke of wing which causes these winds to blow. We try to become god ourselves while declaring him for dead and still we deny our nature. We subdue the earth and its children and still we strive for more. By now we already realized our purpose and we willingly choose to neglect it. We’re flying directly into the sun and still we’re accelerating…”

These dark, poetic words perfectly summarize the music you’ll find in The Thawing Winds Of The Morning Sun, the debut demo by German Melodic Black Metal project Through Chaos & Solitude, led by multi-instrumentalist Tim Rule (Forward to Eden) with the help of Sebastian D. (Castigator) on drums. Featuring a serene cover art by Pottriot Illustrationen, and written, recorded and mixed by Tim himself during this past winter in the city of Ruhrpott in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state of Germany, The Thawing Winds Of The Morning Sun brings beautiful, melancholic and dark music in the vein of bands like Woods Of Ypres, Agalloch and Falls Of Rauros, with each one of its three songs sending a thoughtful message about life and death, our souls, our existence and our struggles.

The initial sound of the howling wind in the first song of the demo, titled The Intransigence Of The Soul, is suddenly joined by an onrush of heavy guitars and blast beats, with the demonic gnarls by Tim giving life (or I should say death) to the song’s poetic lyrics (“Constant struggle of the mind and the heart / Constant suspense of the body and the mind / Persistency in the thought – restlessly moving on / Intransigence of the soul…”). Furthermore, anguish, despair and loneliness are just a few of the emotions explored by Tim in this piercing Black Metal chant, ending in an acoustic and pensive manner before we face the second piece of the demo, A Heart Of Eternal Winter (And The Longing For Your Warmth), which builds a direct bridge to the opening track, beginning in a slow-paced rhythm inspired by the obscurity of Doom and Gothic Metal, also showcasing acute Black Metal blast beats by Sebastian D. and a somber ambience. Tim’s phantasmagoric vocals embrace us in darkness at first, shifting to his hellish growls and back to melodic clean vocals and, therefore, creating a nice paradox of voices inside our minds.

Also connected to its predecessor, If This Is The Best We Can Get Then I Am Disappointed brings forward obscure acoustic guitars and once again the haunting sound of the wind while Tim darkly grasps the song’s austere lyrics, which present his personal view of mankind (“Evolution has brought us so far / And still – look where we are / Creating life and taking life / All in the same conceited breath / We are appointing ourselves to gods / Whereas declaring him for dead / If this is the best we can be / Then please let it end with me / Evolution has brought us so far…”). In addition, this composition is another excellent sample of the clash of distinct sounds Tim enjoys putting together, displaying slow and steady beats à la Doom Metal during its first half, whereas the second part of the song brings an explosion of heavy and dissonant sounds that lives up to the legacy of Scandinavian Black Metal, until it finally reaches its lugubrious ending.

In summary, Tim and his Through Chaos & Solitude are not only offering us well-crafted, harmonious and dark heavy music, but he also discusses important topics about the dangerous direction mankind is taking, pointing to our dread but inevitable extinction. If you’re a metalhead that’s always in pursuit of high-end music coming from independent artists and bands who also care about the content and message transmitted through their creations, Through Chaos & Solitude might be exactly what you’re craving, and obviously don’t forget support this brand new project by purchasing The Thawing Winds Of The Morning Sun at the Bound By Modern Age Records’ BandCamp or webstore (in tape or CD format), at the Mark My Words Records’ BandCamp or webstore, or at Discogs. Let’s hope Tim goes on with Through Chaos & Solitude, a classy project with a meaningful message that only brings more energy to his already excellent Melodic Black Metal, and that mankind finally opens their eyes for all the wrongful things that are happening in our world before it’s too late.

Best moments of the album: The Intransigence Of The Soul.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Bound By Modern Age Records/Mark My Words Records

Track listing
1. The Intransigence Of The Soul 7:58
2. A Heart Of Eternal Winter (And The Longing For Your Warmth) 5:10
3. If This Is The Best We Can Get Then I Am Disappointed 6:37

Band members
Tim Rule – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards
Sebastian D. – drums