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Majestic grandeur


Action: ASH OF ASHES
Base: North Rhine-Westphalia • Germany
Genre: Epic Skaldic Metal
Title: Traces
FFO: Bathory, Falkenbach, Moonsorrow
Format: Album
Label: Kalthallen Tonträger
Release: May 13, 2022


Bulletpoints:
• 2ⁿᵈ album by the artistically high-quality act
• Longing songwriting of the highest aesthetics
• Top musicality meets striking catchiness




[ Lyric video • To Those Long Forgotten ]

ASH OF ASHES about "To Those Long Forgotten":
"Originally, 'Evermore' was supposed to be the last single, since it’s the catchiest song on the album. But then war in Ukraine began, and we felt that this song would fit the current state of the world better. It is, after all, an anti-war song which we’ve written and recorded long before the crisis. 'To Those Long Forgotten' is also the ballad on 'Traces', the song that concludes the album and now turned out to be more important than ever.
Morten on the subject:
'To Those Long Forgotten' was supposed to be a song about parting, and in which different voices would have a say. In the end, it became a song about a mother and a father who lament the loss of their son ‒ who mourn his likely death in war. The lyrics were inspired by the various reasons to go to war that young men named in military mail sent to their families at the beginning of World War I ‒ reasons that played a role even back then. Lyrically, the song feels to be in the tradition of 'No Man’s Land' (also known as 'Green Fields of France') by Eric Bogle.'"




[ Lyric video • Under the Midnight Sun ]

ASH OF ASHES about "Under the Midnight Sun":
"This song is pretty different from the 'Into Eternity' single, as it is a faster song with a stronger Black Metal influence. With its 'Sognametal' influence, which WINDIR made popular, it still sounds very melodic, but also has fierce interwoven guitar melodies and features Morten's raging voice."




[ Lyric video • Into Eternity ]

Singer Morten on the thematic content of "Into Eternity":
"The song is about the narrator's thoughts and memories when saying goodbye to a deceased friend. In addition, it echoes the question of what will remain of us in the future, after our passing."



[ Skaldir 2022 • Pic: Thomas Skroch ]


With the 2018 debut "Down The White Waters", singer, guitarist and composer Skaldir attracted attention across genres. The triumphant EPIC SKALDIC METAL of ASH OF ASHES could even book several media top rankings worldwide.

The fact that the exceptional aesthete from Germany was so successful right from the start with his successor band to HEL, founded in 2014, was primarily due to the captivatingly artistic musicality of this unique album.

The necessary time, which the talented maestro left himself for the now appearing successor, fully benefits every single piece on "Traces" without exception.
Everything should be as accomplished as equally natural and organic - as the wonderfully picturesque artwork of the talented Norwegian Christopher Rakkestad clearly shows. A feast for tasteful eyes.


[ Artwork: Christopher Rakkestad ]


Musically, the gloriously radiant path of noble and illustrious epic moves forward, even if it is purposefully even more varied - especially in various tempos.

"Traces" delights all senses with such finely melodically arranged and highly catchy 'Storyteller Metal' that it is simply magnificent! Besides Skaldir and his well-tried comrade-in-arms Morten as lyricist and co-vocalist, live drummer Stryx and live guitarist Sethras can also be heard on the new masterpiece.

As a guest vocalist, the excellently integrated Lars Jensen of Myrkgrav joins the brilliant song "Into Eternity" with his fabulously distinctive voice for even more multiple sprawling goose bumps - Jensen sounds so exquisite, as if he was born only for this.


[ Morten 2022 • Pic: Ash Of Ashes ]


In the last track "To Those Long Forgotten" there are two guest singers due to the different roles in the song lyrics:
Mystik Folk spiritualist Rúnahild, who was already heard on the Hardanger fiddle on the debut album, sings the female vocal part, while cover artist Christopher Rakkestad (Elvarhøi) takes the male role. This metal ballad is about parents mourning their child killed in war. Emotionally delivered, this lyrical theme, though unplanned, has now become more relevant than ever.

Lyrically, the second album of ASH OF ASHES deals with the inevitably moving theme 'journey'.

The lyrical topics on "Traces" range from the courageous departure up to the end - including the traces along with memory that ultimately remains in the traveler until the end of his days. Historical and mythological elements are interwoven in an exciting way, which guarantees timelessly entertaining stories. (Markus Eck)


➤➤➤ FLASHBACK:
Only every few years appears in the spiritual-natural, epic-pagan area of ​​the upscale Heavy Metal, a very special album classic, which seeks on a wide, artistic area of ​​its kind.

And "Down The White Waters", the debut longplayer of ASH OF ASHES, joins this exquisite guild quite clearly and sublime.

The always accessible, often highly catchy and even clearly hit-capable compositions wander with healthy pride on melancholy, partly sad levels.
But the musical soul of the band is free of bitterness and always focused on timeless aesthetics.

The strongly poetic, emphatically artistic and aesthetic style of ASH OF ASHES is best described as EPIC SKALDIC METAL.

Composing master Skaldir, who became known with the dissolved predecessor group HEL, wrote and arranged fabulously independent songs full of longing and passion, which inevitably instantly grab the soul of a real lover of such art.


Play • Spotify:


Only the catchy instrumental "Springar" is based on a traditional melody that Skaldir interpreted and arranged in his own way.


By means of playfully beguiling folklore offerings of the Scandinavian key-fiddle, the 'Nyckelharpa', the two numbers "Ash To Ash" and "Springar" are refined into shiny genre pearls. Here is Mathias Gyllengahm, otherwise active in the bands Norrsinnt and Utmarken, fully in his favorite element.

In turn, the track "Seven Winters Long" is upgraded as attractively as stylish by the Norwegian-based, shamanic active nature-lover Runahild with the Hardanger fiddle.

As unmistakable influences for the majestically uplifting, Nordic-blissful music of ASH OF ASHES, Bathory during the Viking era is called by the author with full conviction, as well as the splendor of Moonsorrow as well as traditional Metal like Helloween's "Keeper" albums along with the eternal classics of Iron Maiden.


[ Pic: Sandra Preuß • edited by In Spirited Sign ]


The result for "Down The White Waters" is a highly original, fully dynamic and ultimately completely homogeneous blend of enjoyment that does not lack massive power thrusts or driving-impulsive emotional wealth.

For Skaldir, while working on the song material, was always in the foreground, just like the aforementioned bands with their albums, to create a timeless classic that has no signs of wear and tear.

In terms of content, the extraordinarily profound release revolves around mythological, historical, legendary themes, but also around inspiring themes as departure, homecoming and remembrance.

Co-vocalist Morten is responsible for all lyrics on "Down The White Waters".

Within the album, there is also a four song concept called "The Lay Of Wayland", which tells the Germanic heroic legend of Wayland the Smith.


[ Pic credit: aplysian_art • edited by In Spirited Sign ]


And Morten reveals exciting things:
"The legend of Wayland the Smith offers different moods and different storylines in a relatively small space, which makes them interesting for me. In addition, the legend has not been set to music - at least to my knowledge - by other bands and that was a big plus for me, because as a listener I do not always would like to find the same topics and stories - for example Edda and Viking raids - in the lyrics, but also want to get to know something unknown or less known. I came into contact with the legend during my stay abroad in England in 2005, when I began to dig deeper into the Anglo-Saxon epoch of England, its history, myths and literature. I first became attentive to the legend when I saw the jewelry box in the British Museum, known as ‚Franks Casket‘. On this is amongst others a representation with scenes from the Wayland legend. The box dates back to the 8th century, so that the legend of Wayland must already be far older - antique role models or similarities to, for example, 'Daidalos' are obvious here. As the lyrical concept of the album slowly condensed, there were four songs left with different moods and then the legend came back to my mind and the described stages from Wayland's life fit in well very quickly."




Recorded as well as thoroughly processed by mixing and mastering, the longplayer was edited in the band's own production rooms, in Skaldir's established Kalthallen Studios. 

In it, the trained sound engineer mixes and masters the music releases of other artists as a versatile all-rounder.

"Down The White Waters" is a self-confessed manifesto and musical monument in one.

Two precious people, involved in this great, moving album, died tragically early before the release:
Sandra Preuß, a longtime friend who made Skaldir's portrait photo and graphic artist Samuel Samos, who created the captivating ASH OF ASHES band logo.
Both are mourned in dignity with the songs. (Markus Eck)

At the end of the year of the album release, ASH OF ASHES have created a very special treat for their fans:
A music video for the title song "Down The White Waters", which in less than three months could reach the absolutely remarkable number of 90.000 Spotify plays for a newcomer!

The epic Metal song has thus received the appropriate and mood-appropriate images, and was produced by the band themselves with the help of friends.

The recordings for the video were made in Norway as well as in the native Sauerland. It is about departure and the journey into the unknown. For ASH OF ASHES, the journey has just begun ...




ASH OF ASHES • Online:

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TRACKS:
01. Beyond White Waters (instrumental) 02:55
02. Under the Midnight Sun 05:34
03. Into Eternity (feat. Lars Jensen) 05:20
04. The Eternal Traveller 04:41
05. Evermore 04:35
06. Vem kan segla förutan vind (trad., feat. Thomas Clifford) 02:17
07. A Lion Guards Our Names 04:11
08. Southbound 05:19
09.To Those Long Forgotten (feat. Rúnahild & Christopher Rakkestad) 05:13

total: 40:26 min.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Markus Skroch @ Kalthallen Studios • www.kalthallen.de

LINE-UP:
Skaldir • Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Bass
Morten • Lyrics, Vocals
Sethras • (Live)Guitars
Stryx • (Live)Drums

GUESTS:
Lars Jensen
Rúnahild Kvitbjarkan
Christopher Rakkestad
Thomas Clifford

DISCOGRAPHY:
2018 • Down The White Waters • Full-length
2022 • Traces • Full-length



ASH OF ASHES are available for interviews via phone, Skype, Zoom & email