[ Logo: Folkingrimm Art ]
►► Traces • Album • 2022 ◄◄
10 / 10
➤ "... rousing epic folky songs with strong melodies and anthemic vocal lines ... a masterpiece of craftsmanship and music ... clearly show that they have more than earned their place between the BATHORY's and MOONSORROW's of this world!"
10 / 10
➤ "In the German Sauerland there is probably the most epic Metal of 2022. On this I take an oath and ten swords forged in Eslohe ... this is how true epic is made!"
10 / 10
➤ "… very atmospheric ... the transitions sit perfectly ... the whole thing seems very organic ... I like the change of vocals very much ... one moment harsh, almost Black Metal sounds, the next moment clear vocals ... fantastic ... reminds me in some ways of Falkenbach ... about 40 minutes of epic variety ... took me right along ..."
(MetalZone - Support The Underground)
10 / 10
➤ "I love to listen to a lot of Folk Metal, but 'Traces' pushes this love for music to a new level with every song ... incredibly staged ... absolutely recommendable ... lands in my personal top 10 of the year even before some greats of the Metal scene ... I can only take my hat off to this work ... I am speechless ..."
5 / 5
➤ "... once again many fragments are used, which make Quorthon from Bathory sorely missed and there you ask yourself, what would have been, if mastermind Markus Skroch alias Skaldir had made common cause with Quorthon ... it would have come out exactly what Markus presents here now with his new disc ... multi-faceted sound art, which really captivates you ..."
5 / 5
➤ "This is not just a continuation of Hel and this is not ordinary Pagan Metal. This is a work of art that moves you; taking you on a musical journey. There is more of a focus on melody and that is what makes this album that special. I enjoy this album more with each listen. This is essential!"
99 / 100
➤ "... can easily keep the high quality they achieved on their great debut ... 'Traces' surpasses the first album in terms of variety ... probably no album will be released this year that sounds better ... if you want to play modern, completely kitsch-free epic Pagan Metal, you have to follow the standard ASH OF ASHES have reached - musically and also lyrically ... clearly at the top so far in 2022 ..."
(Epic Metal Blog)
98 / 100
➤ "… fans had to wait a while for this … it was worth the wait … ASH OF ASHES lay down pretty much perfect lines here when it comes to epic Pagan Metal … brilliantly crafted songs with fantastic vocals … take us on a great musical journey where historical and mythological elements are bundled together into a seething and haunting whole that we can't get enough of … a fantastic album that will end up at the top of our year-end list …"
9 / 10
➤ "Heartfelt and soulful … the melancholic, heroic, melancholy way of presenting the lyrics fits wonderfully with the epic, sweeping sounds … flowing introversion and heroic pathos carry the wonderful songs … gorgeous floating grandeur and elegant melodicism … an aesthetic work for the fine mind, which captivates through timeless emotionality!"
9 / 10
➤ "Hugely staged Epic Scalden Metal cinema for Bathory, Myrkgrav, Moonsorrow, Windir and (early) Enslaved Viking hordes ... a real Scalden Hammer ... with every note gripping versatility Epic Viking Pagan Metal of elevated class, which stands on a par with the Northern European Pagan Metal elite ..."
9 / 10
➤ "… a glorious, majestic record that will have you sobbing into your mead one minute and swinging your axe the next …"
9 / 10
➤ "... trudges through Moonsorrow's winter landscapes ... vocals recall the very best moments of While Heaven Wept ... a truly great, hugely atmospheric and distinct Epic Metal album that will leave no one cold who has the genre's defining bands of the last twenty years in their closet ... definitely already an absolute highlight of the year!"
9 / 10
➤ "… truly excellent … a fantastic record that is playable over and over again …"
13 / 15
➤ "… shows parallels to Falkenbach's early works … Moonsorrow? ... add some Bathory et voilà, the ASH OF ASHES brew is ready ... know how to convince with a successful mixture of epic, folk and occasional excursions in the direction of extreme Metal also on album no. 2 …"
(Folk Metal AT)
13 / 15
➤ "… a fresh wind that gives courage ... the transition from album to album succeeds fluently ... concise melodies ... overused phrases do not do justice to the class of 'Traces' ... epic Metal in the tradition of Bathory, Windir, Moonsorrow or even Myrkgrav is rarely presented so diversified on this level, moreover without fear of AOR and quiet folk …"
8,5 / 10
➤ "... far away from all banalities ... really good songs ... also with artwork and sound there is little to complain ... definitely risk an ear ..."
8,5 / 10
➤ "... this album is so great that it can't be promoted enough ... enough variety is also provided ..."
(SYLB - Support Your Local Bands)
82 / 100
➤ "… are we going to namedrop right now? Good! Bathory, Windir, Myrkgrav, Forefather, Fejd, Falconer, Finterforst, Ensiferum ... there is a lot of winking going on during 'Traces' … authentic Norwegian pagan vibes, modernised in a very skilful way … a very attractive album that will win most fans in the more direct and heavy Bathory segment …"
8 / 10
➤ "... could improve again compared to their debut ... more detailed and mature ... you can tell that the band put their heart and soul into it ... driving, but always melodic songs with double bass ... great guitar harmonies, which come along with hoarse screech vocals as well as with bright clear vocals ... Epic Pagan Metal in pure culture, which will please all fans of the Bathory Viking phase, Forefather, Falkenbach or Moonsorrow ..."
8 / 10
➤ "... an EPIC album ... EPIC, to the core ... ASH OF ASHES is not another Viking Metal band mixing the same things ... it's fascinatingly authentic, even if the 'materials' used to make the music are outdated and thus classic and traditional ... 'Traces' is a wonderful album, full of melodies and embedded in the Nordic folk tradition ..."
(Rock Hard Greece)
8 / 10
➤ "… the great melodies, the excellent clear vocals of all singers and the very good elaboration of the songs push ASH OF ASHES into the upper shelves of Epic Metal ... a very nice album from a heroically triumphant band …"
(Rock Castle Franken)
78 / 10
➤ "… elegant … a dense, melodic and smooth album … with unique found styles …"
➤ "... very good listening pleasure ... can score points with their epic orientation, the fine melodies, the Scandinavian folk influences and the varied songwriting ... creates a very comfortable feeling while listening and that's mainly what makes this album recommendable for all Metal fans from my point of view, especially if they can do something with an epic impact from the Bathory corner ..."
➤ "… vast and epic Metal in the style of Viking-era Bathory and Moonsorrow … a magnum opus … an ambitious work of sonic artistry … absolutely intrigues the listener with spellbinding tapestries … gripping …"
➤ "… showcases its epic and medieval music influences … all the tracks addresses to Scorpions … here we’ve got a dense album which refuses to be properly labeled and a band that does its best to follow these directions … that’s a great thing, if I may in these days when everything seems to be tried or done."
➤ "… cross references to bands like Tad Morose or Amorphis ... a real highlight ... packed with emotions ... you might think that ASH OF ASHES have already released several albums, but 'Traces' is only the second one ... if they keep going like this they will go far yet …"
➤ "... a whole journey through different forms of musical expression ... makes it clear that despite the long wait between albums, the band remains firm and solid ... the epic sound that has characterised them throughout their eight years of existence is even better defined on this ... shows that the versatility and contributions of the various contributors enrich a sound that alone can satisfy any lover of the genre ..."
➤ "Melodic Black Metal of incredible execution, opens the doors to a journey with epic feelings, adventurous and more, through a couple of vocal styles of mind-blowing work. Recommended"
(Riff Of Metal)
➤ "An authentic great album with elements of Viking and Pagan Metal, plus Folk elements that elevate it to glory … an unrepeatable journey that moves you, and melts you with its melodies and epic songs … a jewel!"
➤ "... very brisk and also powerfully played ... goes to the heart ... ASH OF ASHES call their style Epic Skaldic Metal and that's exactly what you get to hear ... many epic sounds alternate with Metal tones ... the overall picture is always very fluid ... what especially stands out is the imaginative and usually very engaging guitar playing ... let yourself in on this mystical-pressureful musical journey - it's worth it!
➤ "… a true monument of an album ... everything so skillfully interwoven and combined with a lot of flair ... in the center is always the epic, the melancholy and the dreaming into a forgotten time ... ASH OF ASHES have outdone themselves once again ... an epic masterpiece ... 'Traces' is an absolute highlight!"
➤ "… does it extremely well with great vocal talent and also flawless musicianship … great mix of rough & melodic vocals … ASH OF ASHES master the art of Skaldic Metal …"
➤ "The Pagan Metal scene in Germany has always been a quality one, and the band ASH OF ASHES is not an exception with its excellent new album entitled 'Traces'. Epic Pagan Metal. Enjoy!"
(Ethereal Black Metal)
➤ "… dedicated to Pagan and Epic Metal of excellent cut … inspired by fantastic and glorious stories … takes us through excellent melodic, folky, warm and cold melodic landscapes … classic instrumentals that show the influence of Heavy Metal and slight sparks of Power Metal … undoubtedly a fearless album, of excellent proposal and extremely epic, as the battle bells ring …"
➤ "… allows me to follow them on their journey and become completely involved … 'Traces' grew on me quickly, calling to mind Enslaved, Borknagar and Windir records, reaching back even further into the past to when Power Metal was born in the 1980s … to inspire countless listeners for years to come, ASH OF ASHES reach the place where legends are born.
➤ "… pure, heroic melodies ... this is the tremendous power of 'Traces': its melodies ... the epic feeling and the doom atmosphere dominate the whole album in an extraordinary way, while the Black Metal moments are not missing ... ASH OF ASHES don't hesitate to become more direct and Heavy Metal … reminding of While Heaven Wept (what an unrecognized band!) or Solstice … excellent …"
➤ "… our recommendation for all who like Epic / Pagan Metal …"
(Conexión Rock Radio)
►► Down The White Waters • Album • 2018 ◄◄
[ Artwork: Tabea Boden ]
►►► Place #2 among the winners of the Battle Of The Bands competition 2018 in Sonic Seducer music magazine!
100 / 100
➤ "A great album that really sounds like a whole band accomplishment but is more the music and idea of a man with a good friendship that led this brilliant project to life. An awesome logo and a cover art reminding about the Vikings sending their dead ones to the sea. Masterpiece of emotions …"
(The Metal Mag)
10 / 10
➤ "... in addition to the strong songwriting skills here are the very good clear vocals, the well contrasting growls of Morten and the extremely versatile instrumentation of the album ... rounded off is the overall picture by the great production which leaves no wish unfulfilled, and the harmonious cover artwork ... clearly one of the best albums and THE new discovery 2018!"
5 / 5
➤ "… a real gem of the genre, away from any conventions ... everything fits here: performance, production, visual framework ... the mentioned figureheads, the founding fathers of Pagan/Viking Metal would be proud of what Skaldir and Morten have raised with ASH OF ASHES and their debut album 'Down The White Waters' ... a masterful example of how magical music can be when highly talented artists simply let a project happen with total dedication."
5 / 5
➤ "… majestically uplifting, Nordic-oriented Viking Music in the Metal garment ... those who like FALKENBACH, BATHORY and the likes just a little bit, will be drawn into the maelstrom of ASH OF ASHES ... a masterpiece ... Quorthon would definitely be proud about such disciples or musical descendants from Germany."
(Metal Underground AT)
9,5 / 10
➤ "… I am (...) heavily impressed ... ASH OF ASHES are resurrected like the Phoenix from the ashes of Hel ... a production that comes across crystal clear, does the rest ... reminds me very much of Bathory in the epic phase ... could be from Quorthon ... you hear at each corner of 'Down The White Waters', the emotions and heartbeat of a talented musician who has created with passion and hard work something that makes (...) lasting impact. Thanks for that!"
(Time For Metal)
93 / 100
➤ "… one of the most original albums of 2018 … ASH OF ASHES let us know less famous Germanic tales and legends, as well as acquainting us with the Anglo-Saxon world … additionally, its music quality is excellent … in perfect harmony with the clear voice, violins, fiddles, harps."
(European Folk Metal)
90 / 100
➤ "… a pleasant experience … solid Pagan/Folk Metal with elements in common with both Bathory and Týr, along with unique elements that set ASH OF ASHES apart from both styles … great example of an effective, exceptional debut album …"
9 / 10
➤ "ASH OF ASHES do not hesitate and grab the stars with their debut 'Down The White Waters'. The album is so surprising and overwhelmingly good that the big labels should tear themselves for future releases!"
9 / 10
➤ "When a title is called 'Flames On The Horizon', then the experts ASH OF ASHES bring Bathory epic from all pores ... one of the most honest but most also poignant Pagan Metal albums released in recent years ... real Epic Skaldic Metal."
(Heavy Metal DE)
9 / 10
➤ "… filled to the rim with epic, symphonic Metal … the tracks are almost instantly memorable with hooky riffs, harmonies and vocal lines that stay with you … each track here stands on it’s own … I can’t find a weak spot on the album … solid song writing, great musicianship and lastly, a killer mix and production … I think this album has immense crossover appeal as it is not your typical 'Viking Metal' album … it transcends genres … and is just a great Metal album."
(Folk Metal NL)
9 / 10
➤ "… reminding in some parts Bathory or Falkenbach … quite good, all nine songs plus outro flow free with great melodic and intense moments … including an instrumental, 'Springlar' … the last four songs relate the story of Wayland, an heroic legend … definitively a project to follow!"
(Sounds From Apocalypse)
4 / 5
➤ "… in the great tradition of Falkenbach where guitars are melodic, catchy, but they can also move towards aggression or slowness … we also find an atmospheric side to the Old Vintersorg with slower tempos … the folk side is really present … instruments like the Nyckelharpa, which is close to the wheel … as well as the Hardanger fiddle … ASH OF ASHES offers us a nice discovery with 'Down The White Waters' … a group that has mastered its subject with its Black sounds and traditional music."
(United Rock Nations)
13 / 15
➤ "… mostly epic, with carried melodies and clear vocals ... Bathory (logically Quorthon's Viking phase) or even Ereb Altor as a comparison ... always exciting ... unconditional buy recommendation!"
(Folk Metal AT)
86 / 100
➤ "… excellent … 'Down The White Waters' is a little gem …"
(Heavy Metal Heaven)
8,5 / 10
➤ "… fat epic and hymnic tones, as they could not sound more Nordic ... traditional riffs with anthemic and folky influences ... a really great debut ... always varied and melodious ... frequently ... resonates a comforting melancholy, but never too much pull down ... each song has its own charm and recognition."
8,5 / 10
➤ "ASH OF ASHES has succeeded in producing a touching album with 'Down The White Waters', which takes the listener into its own hands through its simplicity as well as its variable dynamics. The band eagerly collects plausible points without bold clichés …"
8,5 / 10
➤ "… highly original and diverse, echoing different moods and feels, as the story requires, reason why 'Down The White Waters' is so much more than your average Viking / Folk metal album. It’s charming and exquisite in its simplicity and dark atmosphere."
5,5 / 7
➤ "A beautiful, unpretentious and extraordinary album ... unlike, for example, Falkenbach, ASH OF ASHES are more open-minded, more dynamic …"
8 / 10
➤ "… very melodic … very powerful … a musical style that takes Pagan, Melodic Black and Folk Metal and mixes them together to create a sound of their own … production sounds very professional …"
(A Different Shade Of Black Metal)
8 / 10
➤ "… does not leave a dry eye on the playing-technical level ... creates a musical landscape that almost seems hypnotic and which makes time relatively ... because you sink in the music up to your ears ... the whole thing reminds me in style of Bathory and Immortal, without copying, which is a rarity today …"
7,7 / 10
➤ "… creating a legendary atmosphere … an album that will appeal to lovers of Folk Metal, epic and black sounds, 'Down The White Waters' asks us to reserve some of our time for his compositions, to find ourselves in another dimension, floating in a sea of pagan and epic emotions."
75 / 100
➤ "… a nice debut. The opening track is pure pagan and you can see the hordes of Vikings go to war in their minds … simply solid Metal."
➤ "ASH OF ASHES have a sense of captivating the listener ... a unique atmosphere."
➤ "Who would have ever guessed a few years ago that the match between Art Rock and Extreme Metal would be so rewarding … ASH OF ASHES got to a perfect balance. It’s not easy to accomplish it …"
➤ "… definitely interesting for the ones who like their style diverse, epic and melodic … ASH OF ASHES prove that they have a passion that is reflected quite well musically and technically … a fresh air and a release that I enjoyed … pretty sure this will be on my rotation every now and then … recommended to those who like Folk/Pagan/Epic Metal and those interested in mythological concepts!"
➤ "In this debut album, ASH OF ASHES managed to offer a sound that I haven't heard since Bathory's 'Nordland Era' … very deep and concise but keeping in mind the atmosphere of the music in every moment … the compositions are quite interesting thanks to the incredibly well-crafted instrumentation throughout the album …"
➤ "… epic and imposing, melancholic but courageous … 'Down The White Waters' is a real surprise, a mature record that deserves to be known and listened to repeatedly … instead of looking for signs of life in groups that for too many years groped in super productions and do not make a really beautiful CD for more than ten years, it is appropriate to mark the name of ASH OF ASHES and discover the world contained in the ten tracks of this disk."
➤ "… album that is fun to hear from start to finish ... really convincing atmosphere, very epic, lots of folk influences from Scandinavia and packed with varied Metal songs - recommendation!"
➤ "Created by Hel's ash, Skaldir offers us ten epic tracks that have some surprises in store for fans of Falkenbach, Bathory and similar acts as well as for fans of the original Heavy Metal."
➤ "… a masterly record, which is perfectly put together … pure class … here is a grandmaster at work, who delivers the perfect painting as only masters in their profession can."
➤ "10 epic hymns with orchestral power, sublime mysticism and melodies and great clear vocals ... intoxicate the senses ... unfold an extremely captivating energy ... who in the last few years has lost the hope of good Pagan Metal, will come back to taste by ASH OF ASHES ... absolute strong from start to finish and should be on the shelf with every Pagan fan right next to Bathory, Menhir and Windir."
➤ "'Down The White Waters' is exemplary from top to bottom … the songwriting alongside the overall instrumentation is nothing of short of delicious … top-notch Folk Metal … a tasty record that has loads of potential …"
➤ "ASH OF ASHES surprise with an epic work ... listen to 'The Lay Of Wayland' ... it's worth ... very varied ... also spiced up with various other instruments - such as violins or fiddles and harps by guest musicians - and the harmonious vocals ... for November, the traditional mystical month that lures you into the foggy darkness ... clear buy recommendation."
(Bad Black Unicorn)
➤ "… makes no secret of his calls to Månegarm and Thyrfing … ASH OF ASHES pack a varied and balanced concept … a good album, a debut that amalgamates many different influences and tells beautiful stories."
➤ "The clear vocals create a hymnic atmosphere, which inevitably puts you into another world ... very varied ... different moods ... epic or primeval elements ... historical feeling …"
➤ "Impressive in evoking the best moments of Borknagar, Vintersorg, and heavier Folk Metal acts … an extremely strong and auspicious full-length debut release for ASH OF ASHES, almost guaranteed to earn them a place in the Folk Metal pantheon of bands like Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, and Skyforger."
➤ "ASH OF ASHES have made a genre contribution with their debut, which can score with a high degree of musical exhilaration, unaffected emotions and refreshing fearlessness in the face of international competition."
➤ "Monumental pounders with wide-wall choirs are a pure hail to Bathory, the title track has something of the playful Folk Metal of Týr, balladic moments and Power Metal pomp are also there ... real drums as well as the traditional string instruments Hardanger fiddle and Nyckelharpa were contributed by guest musicians ... also fans of ancient In Flames, Crom (!) And Ereb Altor should order one of the vinyl colors, digipak or both ..."
➤ "… majestic … exciting … catchy Metal music which absolutely make your mind blowing … ASH OF ASHES really did a great job in this debut album."