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."
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)
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."
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."
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!"
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)
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 ..."
ASH OF ASHES
North Rhine-Westphalia • Germany
Epic Skaldic Metal
Down The White Waters
Sept. 21st, 2018
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.
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 credit: 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 ...
01. Down The White Waters 05:27
02. Flames On The Horizon 05:32
03. Ash To Ash 04:49
04. Sea Of Stones 05:11
05. Springar 01:57
06. Seven Winters Long (The Lay Of Wayland) 04:05
07. In Chains (The Lay Of Wayland) 04:43
08. The Queen's Lament (The Lay Of Wayland) 04:18
09. Chambers Of Stone (The Lay Of Wayland) 04:37
10. Outro 01:17
Dennis Strillinger: Drums
Mathias Gyllengahm: Nyckelharpa (on "Ash To Ash" & "Springar")
Runahild: Hardingfele (on "Seven Winters Long")
All music on this album is written and arranged by Skaldir.
Except "Springar" which is a traditional melody arranged by Skaldir.
All lyrics on this album written by Morten.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Markus Skroch @ Kalthallen Studios (www.kalthallen.de)
Drums recorded at Schreiraum Studios (www.schreiraumstudios.de) by René Bannasch & Skaldir
Cover & Layout by Tabea Boden
Logo by Samuel Samos @ Folkingrimm Art
Photo of Skaldir by Sandra Preuß
Photo of Morten by aplysian_art
2018: Down The White Waters (full-length)
ASH OF ASHES • Contact:
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