May 012014

I chuckled when I first saw the name of this band, and then chuckled more volubly when I saw the cover of their debut EP, Masks of Ash. That is indeed one hell of an ornamental headpiece. Someday maybe I’ll find out how they picked their name, but of course what really counts now is the music, and Masks of Ash is awfully good.

The band’s membership is somewhat obscure, though it includes Damian Master (aka Deathless Maranatha of A Pregnant Light and Dukula Menelek of Aksumite), as well as one or more people from a band named Citizen and another from Detroit named Freedom. For me, Master’s presence made the EP immediately worth checking out — and I was hurried along in doing so by NCS supporter Utmu.

The four-song offering only lasts about 11 minutes total, but it’s a compelling 11-minute ride. The dominant style is black metal — on the raw, blasting, lo-fi end of the spectrum — but there are other ingredients in the mix as well. Continue reading »