Ash Borer - _Cold of Ages_
(Profound Lore, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (8 out of 10)
_Cold of Ages_, the second album from northern California based act Ash Borer, has received enough attention it warrants me traveling to the well preserved world of Cascadia. The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive species of Asian beetles that has made significant damage to the Midwestern and Eastern ecosystem of the United States. These things destroy swaths of forests. It is strange and perhaps fitting that natural destruction would be embraced for this project. Sure, this death and despair is organic, but only because of the hand of humanity. The unintentional horror beset by humans is an interesting starting point for Ash Borer. Over tracks that range between 10 and 18 minutes, the band presents the world as a delicate yet destructive force.

What Ash Borer presents is very different from the work of Wolves in the Throne Room, Weakling or the British act Winterfylleth. This is black metal of a more depressive variety. While the tracks are still ridiculously long, there are few times where the songs enter interludes or segments. These are marathon tracks that have little to do with post rock or transcendence. There is a negativity which runs through heart of _Cold of Ages_ and presents a refreshing visceral sound which brings me back to the mid '00s.

Ash Borer presents black metal as a harrowing force which is open to experimentation yet uncompromising in its intensity. _Cold of Ages_ is a record which is indicative enough to be shelved along side of _Two Hunters_ and _Ashes Against the Grain_. It may have come a few years late, but I am pleased and entertained that the sound of Cascadia is still being carried by competent handlers. I will never look at beetles the same again.

(article published 4/11/2012)


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