The last time we featured the music of Ashen Horde in these pages was almost exactly two years ago when we premiered the band’s two-track EP, The Alchemist, which was intended to pave the way to the band’s third album. Now, that album has been completed, with the title of Fallen Cathedrals — and today we’re hosting another Ashen Horde premiere, a breathtaking track off that new record named “Parity Lost“.
For those who might be encountering Ashen Horde for the first time, it began as the solo project of Los Angeles-based musician Trevor Portz. Working alone, he released a handful of EPs and two albums since 2013. Beginning with The Alchemist, he joined forces with vocalist Stevie Boiser, known for his work with such tech-death heavyweights as Vale of Pnath, Inferi, and Equipoise, and both are in harness again for Fallen Cathedrals.
The music of Ashen Horde has been a tale of continuing evolution, and increasing disregard of strict genre conventions. As Trevor Portz has remarked:
“The forthcoming album, Fallen Cathedrals, is the perfect illustration of what Ashen Horde is all about. Musically, it draws influence from across the metal spectrum. There is hyper speed, blast-beat-fueled black metal that runs alongside pummeling death metal riffs; clean-sung melodic passages juxtaposed against face-melting screams, and headbanging beats intermixed with progressive odd-time signatures.”
That is indeed an accurate description, as you’re about to discover through the song we’re premiering.
“Parity Lost” really is breathtaking. It’s a mind-bending whirlwind of sound, delivering a constantly changing, prog-heavy experience that channels tremendous creative exuberance and top-shelf instrumental skill. So many things happen over its rapidly twisting and turning course, beginning with a blinding rush of maniacal drum blasting, vicious, rapidly writhing fretwork, remarkably vibrant bass tones, and ecstatically frenzied leads.
As the song careens ahead, the music becomes laced with bursts of insectile skittering, moodier bass pulsations, lashings of cruel dissonance, eruptions of blaring melody, slow melancholy chords, an array of dynamic drum rhythms, and a pair of riveting solos, one a demented flamethrower and the other a more fluid and soulful performance that arcs the music into a tremendous finale.
The vocals are as extravagant as the instrumental performances — presenting scorching shrieks, gruesome growls, and impassioned clean vocals that give the song a memorable melodic chorus.
Fallen Cathedrals is a concept album in the vein of J.G. Ballard’s dystopian novel High Rise” and (as the band explain) it “explores class warfare and a society’s descent into primitive, warring tribes”. As for how this particular song fits into the narrative, we’ll turn again to Trevor Portz:
“‘Parity Lost‘ sets the stage not only for the Fallen Cathedrals album, but also serves as a summary of what Ashen Horde is all about. It contains elements of black metal, death metal, and prog, all stitched together in a ball of controlled chaos. Lyrically, it lays the groundwork for the album’s story—a city divided by wealth, with the most affluent on one side, and those struggling to make ends meet on the other. The rich look at the poor as lazy and low class, while the poor look at the rich as snobby and self-indulgent. Tensions have intensified with each passing year, and the precarious balance is about to be shattered… “
Musically, the album is recommended for fans of such progressive-minded extremists as Ihsahn, Borknagar, Opeth, and Enslaved
Fallen Cathedrals will be released on March 22nd (in CD and vinyl editions) through Extreme Metal Music/Rockshots Records. Below, you’ll find links for more info as well as the first single from the album (“Profound Darkness“), along with our own premiere.