Rising - To Solemn Ash
With a name aptly signifying a consequence of their debut, the dutch traditional/stoner metal newcomers Rising have arrived with an attention-worthy first effort, To Solemn Ash. The trio plays with a conviction that is refreshing, a chemistry that is rare to such a young outfit and a style that should fit in nicely in today's more traditional-leaning metal mainstream. Those of a leaning towards the likes of Mastodon, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, High on Fire and others of that riff-driven, doomy ilk will find a debut worth heralding.
"Mausoleum" is an infectious opener, with a sharp hook laid in quickly before the mid-paced rumble settles in. Guitarist Jacob Krogholt is an absolute animal, conjuring up riff after riff of the highest quality, but the album is truly the work of a trio. Vocalist/bassist Henrik Hald and drummer Jacob Johansen handle the vital and persistent underpinnings of the rhythmic foundation, a foundation that is as of much import as the chugging, swirling riffage and blazing leads. Henrik's vocals grow on you with each consecutive listen; indeed, at first they were a real distraction but have, over many listens, become not only tolerable but the essence of Rising in a way. The gruff melodies Henrik utilizes intertwine very well with the music they accompany. Lyrically speaking, the themes are mostly tried and true metal fare, giving the overall nostaligia factor another tick in the right direction. True standouts like "Sea of Basalt", the more purely doom "Cohorts Rise", the guitar-driven ferocity of "Through the Eyes of Catalyst", and the rather Pantera-ish closer "Seven Riders" are all the proof one needs of Rising's talent and aptitude for crafting gems that mix the hooks and the heaviness in equally potent doses.
Rarely is a debut album so easily digested, so expertly crafted, with the added benefit of expert studio work to get the most out of the sound. To Solemn Ash makes a strong case for Rising being one of the new year's most promising and enjoyable newcomers in the realm of heavy metal.
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