ASHEN HORDE “Antimony”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Antimony is a chemical element commonly used in the production of semiconductors and weapons. But it can also be used as a particularly unpleasant poison...just ask the 19th century British lawyer Charles Bravo, who was murdered by a dose of antimony. Bravo’s unsolved poisoning was one of the most sensational crime cases of Victorian England and it provides the story for this concept album by blackened metal band ASHEN HORDE.

ASHEN HORDE, containing members of INFERI, ABHORIA and NORSE, play a somewhat elegant and Gothic form of black metal with a good deal of melodic death metal influence. Their sound is pretty clean and clear...this is not what you’d call “bestial” or “necro” black metal at all. At times, their usage of clean vocals is almost poppy, which creates a queasy contrast with the extremely harsh vocals that generally predominate...check out “The Consort” and “The Disciple” for good examples of this. Despite those more accessible vocals, this is in no way a commercial album, as it often rips along with blazing speed, like on “The Barrister” and “The Physician”. Riffing sometimes leans towards the Gothic and icy-sounding, giving the album a cold feel.

It is quite well played and produced but I think it appeals a bit more to the melodic death and black metal crowd than those looking for sheer darkness and brutality. One thing that makes my jaw drop is the proliferation of hoodies, book bags, sweats and sickening commercial items being pushed. An ASHEN HORDE coffee cup...are you fucking kidding me? That belongs more with the likes of BTS than an act claiming to be black metal, which is the antithesis of commerciality.