Ashes Of My Memory – Raptures /// Disillusions – EP Review

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Artist: Ashes Of My Memory

Album Title: Raptures /// Disillusions

Label: Independent Release

Date of Release: 7 October 2018

When the band describe themselves as a melodic death metal/progressive metal band, I’m going to take a listen. And that’s exactly what Ashes Of My Memory did recently when alerting me to their recently-released debut EP, ‘Raptures /// Disillusions’. And you’ll have guessed by now, given the fact that I am reviewing the release, that I like what I hear.

Ashes Of My Memory are a quartet from South Tyrol in Italy and are comprised of bassist/vocalist Sebastian Kuen, guitarist/vocalist Michael Berger, guitarist Felix Niedermair and drummer Lukas Niederwolfsgruber.

Whilst the music has a heavy edge, the emphasis is certainly on the melodic aspect, with plenty of beautiful moments to be heard within the two tracks that run for a combined 16 minutes or so. The melodic intent is evident from the very beginning when a sensitive, almost post-rock, ambient-like melody emerges from behind a militaristic snare drum beat to introduce ‘The Cycle’.

After being lulled into a false sense of security for the first minute, in crashes a huge prog-leaning riff full of bruising intent. However, calming melodies are never far away and whilst the track maintains a heavy edge led by some gravelly gruff vocals, the pace slows, the abrasiveness subsides and we’re left with a track that has immediacy and subtlety. And then the clean vocal enters the fray. If I’m honest, I think I’d have preferred it had Ashes Of My Memory maintained the growled delivery because the clean voice hints at a metalcore/alt metal veneer that isn’t necessary in my opinion. Having said that, the clean-led chorus of sorts is undeniably catchy and cannot be totally derided.

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The song delights in fluctuating between heavy soundscapes and softer, whimsical and beautiful ambient passages. It injects a certain storytelling into the track, not to mention dynamism and drama, especially within the almost euphoric final minute when the song concludes with real style and panache.

The second and final track is entitled ‘The Decline’ and whilst it begins in quiet fashion again, the tone is much darker. As the heavier guitars join in, the song gains a mid-tempo stomp that is delightfully powerful. The riffs are strong, the bass rumbles nicely whilst offering some understated flamboyance and the lead guitar overlays things with a lovely melody or two. Again, I’m not totally sold on the addition of the clean vocals, neither am I enamoured with the djent-like riff at the half-way point. However, I do like the death/doom feel of this composition, as well as the continued eagerness to mix up the tempos and tones to increase the impact of the song. The quieter sections are nicely constructed, whilst once again, the closing crescendo is a thing of real beauty and serenity, very uplifting.

It isn’t without its flaws – I’d slightly question the ‘death/prog’ tag and I’m not entirely convinced that the band know what their exact sound is yet – but ‘Raptures /// Disillusions’ nevertheless shows real promise from this Italian outfit. It’s just a shame that we only get two songs to explore because I’d definitely like to have heard more. Maybe next time. However, until that becomes a reality, have a listen to this EP and see what you think.

The Score of Much Metal: 7.5

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here:

2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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