On January 6, 2020, the label alliance of Casus Belli Musica and Beverina will release the debut album of a mysterious atmospheric black metal band named Lesath. The album’s name is Sacred Ashes. It consists of six tracks, but really four songs, because two of those four are divided into two parts in the track list.
In September of this year, Lesath (and subsequently the two labels) released one of those two-part songs, “Like the Wind“, which we reviewed here. Today we present the second half of the other two-part song, “A New Life“, which like the first single is presented with its own artwork.
The meaning of the album title can be discerned from the following quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, which you’ll see on the Bandcamp pages for the record:
“You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;
How could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?”
And the following statement by Lesath elaborates on that concept:
“Sacred Ashes is a journey out of the light and into the dark. It is an ode to the irrevocable culmination, an irreversible conclusion to all that once was alive and sentient. Through the album’s path, it all comes to life even beyond the nadir only to be placed among the Isle of the dead eventually where all beauty, all mirth, and all feeling lay dormant, bereft and forlorn, at peace with permanence along the blinding darkness that has perhaps lingered within the floating halls for the longest time. The album was conceived in order to resolve and renew, to bury and ascend.”
In the running order of the album, that previously released two-part song “Like the Wind” (which we’re including below) comes first, followed by the album’s title track, and then the other two-parter, “A New Life“, followed by the closing song “Eternal Malaise“.
Although the first part of “A New Life” isn’t yet available for public listening, it should be discussed before we come to the second part. There is both brightness and tension in the vibrant guitar strumming that opens the song over the increasingly animated punch of the drumming, and that feeling of tension becomes almost despairing, though still leavened with a feeling of wistfulness (which comes through in the lyrics, along with a deep pessimism). Soaring and drifting waves of mystical melody eventually cascade over the persistent strumming, though it’s an anxious kind of pulsing sound that ends the track… and leads into the music we present today.
Where part one of the song was moody and introspective, part two is scarifying. The shrieking vocals and battering drums, combined with intense, incendiary riffing, channel visions of a world burning. Through the searing intensity of the music a forlorn melody slowly creeps, the sound resembling the low wailing of a wind instrument (something like an oboe), but the wretched, strangled cries of the vocals and the rising anguish of the leads leave no hope that any light will survive.
The layered melodies in the song, formulated in varying tones, have a mesmerizing quality, creating a fascinating sonic tapestry, but the pain and rage, the frustration and desperation, are nonetheless unsettling.
Sacred Ashes was mastered by Nekkomix (Skyforest, Bloodbark, Lumnos, etc.). It will be released by Casus Belli Musica and Beverina in a 6-panel digipak, CD with pit-art, limited to 150 copies. A digital edition will only be available through Lesath.
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