Because of their Cascadian roots and tendency toward songs that rarely clock in at less than double digits, Ash Borer are often compared to Olympia, WA’s Wolves In The Throne Room. But the Arcata, CA quartet remind me more of another NoCal band: USBM progenitors Weakling, from San Francisco (who are often noted as WITTR’s primary influence, too). Like Weakling, Ash Borer deal in expressive, dynamic guitars and haunted, harrowing screams, all layered beneath clouds of feedback squall and hiss. Ash Borer’s two essential 2011 releases — their self-titled full-length debut and the compilation Discography 2009-2011, which collected all their early material — established the band as one of the most exciting acts in American black metal, but their 2012 album, Cold Of Ages (which will be released in August via Profound Lore), raises the stakes even higher. “Descended Lamentations” opens the album, and is probably its most thoroughly relentless track. But as the song shifts into its slow-building final third, the fury gives way to something much more ominous, yet mesmerizing. Check it out.
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