Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


As the years go on and I grow older, I’ve started to realize that the best black metal bands don’t perform live (or barely) and only comprised of one or two people. There is something to be said with only having one or two minds creating art. The ideas tend to be more focused and specific. Bands that never play live will always take their live performance with the utmost seriousness. Simply due to the fact that they barely have a chance to perform their art in front of others, so they must make the most of it. Writing music is one thing but being able to have that catharsis in a live setting is beyond words. Speaking of which…. Nick Stanger will be doing his first live performance with Ashbringer later this year in September, where they will be doing a ten day tour. Nick has gathered session musicians from the area to accompany him with his sonic expressions.

Here we have one single man, who goes by the name of Nick Stanger, all the way from the forests of Minnesota. Focusing on lyrical themes predominately based on nature and catharsis. I would consider this to be more of a post rock black metal band rather than an atmospheric black metal band. Atmospheric black metal is a sub genre often overly used these days. Unfortunately we live in such a fast paced world that having genres is extremely important so people can filter through music better. There just aren’t enough hours in the day and in life for that matter, to listen to every great piece of music.

“Vacant” is the first full length effort from Ashbringer and a very well rounded one at that. The first track is a smooth and very ethereal intro instrumental build up track which carries into the second track. “Ethereal Aura Pt. II” is one of the stronger tracks on this record. It has a great build up that is very drawn out and sets the stage for the rest of the song/album. It doesn’t give you the entire album all at once in the first track. It leaves you begging for more. Have you ever wanted to hear what something sounds like when it’s miserably triumphant? This track is your golden ticket. I personally have never had a feeling of triumph so strong…. Yet… over nothing. This world seems pretty hopeless even when there is light at the end of the tunnel. Ashbringer captures that emotion extremely well in, “Ethereal Aura Pt. II”.  The next two tracks, “Lucid and With Vacant Eyes” have more of a post rock slant although they both have ripping blast beat sections that will make you want to break things in your living room. The overall production of the album is very well done. The kick drum and snare have that tight crisp sound to them while still retaining the organic tone. The drums are placed well in the mix so not to over power any of the melody within the amazing guitar writing. The bass guitar is quite audible and is a very refreshing treat in metal to be able to make out the bass clearly. The last track on the album is possibly the best song on the entire record. If you could take the whole record and comprise it into one song, then you would have, “Bitter”. This song is simply excellent. The melodies are memorable and heartfelt. It has a great little clean section close to the midway point of the song. Nick really saved the best for last on this one. It has an interesting approach while using multiple layers of tone during the fade out. Although, I just want to hear more and more music for the last two minutes. I guess I’ll be on the edge of my seat now for the next album. It’s better to leave your fans wanting more than to give them every thing in once serving.

Vacant is a fabulous first album. You couldn’t ask for anything better. Great song writing, well rounded start to finish, and genuinely heartfelt music. Ashbringer is great for fans of Woods of Desolation and Lantlos.

Facebook -

Record Label -  Primal Relics Records

No comments:

Post a Comment