Hailing from the cold, unforgiving wastelands of Hollywood, California, ASHEN HORDE is a two-piece band that strives to embrace a multitude of extreme metal sub-genres, without being bound to any one of them. Drawing influence from metal’s crème de le extreme, from Enslaved and Devin Townsend to Ihsahn and Opeth, ASHEN HORDE (aka Trevor Portz and Stevie Boiser (Vale of Pnath, Inferi)), may have a sound rooted in death and black metal, but can’t truly be called either.
Completing their third full length, “Fallen Cathedrals”, the concept album is in the vein of J.G. Ballard’s dystopian novel “High Rise,” and explores class warfare and a society’s descent into primitive, warring tribes. Musically, the album expands further on the complexities of the band’s earlier releases, but with even more emphasis on progressive and melodic elements, even incorporating clean vocals for the first time. It will appeal to fans of the more progressive side of extreme metal, from Ihsahn and Borknagar to Opeth and Enslaved.
Set to be released on CD and vinyl in Europe and North America on March 22nd, 2019 via Extreme Metal Music/Rockshots Records , the duo has unleashed the concept album’s first single and video “Profound Darkness” .
The band explains the track:
“ We slow things down a bit for this one, it is a song that is much grimmer and dark. The power has gone out across the entire poor part of the city, and the inhabitants—wary and distrusting of their wealthy neighbors—have decided that it must surely be the fault of the rich. Thus, they determine that the peace between the two sides is over and that they must get revenge.”
Listen to “Profound Darkness” at the following link:
The band adds:
“The forthcoming album, Fallen Cathedrals, is the perfect illustration of what Ashen Horde is all about. Musically, it draws influence from across the metal spectrum. There is hyper speed, blast-beat-fueled black metal that runs alongside pummeling death metal riffs; clean-sung melodic passages juxtaposed against face-melting screams, and headbanging beats intermixed with progressive odd-time signatures.”
Launched as a one-man project in 2013 by writer and multi-instrumentalist Trevor Portz, Ashen Horde has released two critically acclaimed albums, as well as several EPs, over the past three years. Beginning with the ambitious Sanguinum Vindicta trilogy, Portz has worked tirelessly to develop a sound that is both challenging and unique.
While the earlier work was more firmly rooted in black metal, subsequent releases have begun to shape the Ashen Horde sound into something more genre-neutral. As noted by Dead Rhetoric, “Ashen Horde takes the best of what’s around and melds it into something more interesting than the [individual] parts.”
2015 saw the release of the sophomore album, Nine Plagues. Again written, performed and recorded entirely by Portz, the album was described by Transcending Obscurity as “the ultimate modern death metal experience.” Lavished with positive reviews, the album greatly helped to boost Ashen Horde’s presence in the extreme metal community. In fact, demand for Nine Plagues on vinyl led to a successful Kickstarter campaign, the result being a double-LP version of the album.
2016 brought a major change to the band, as Portz made the decision to bring in a lead vocalist, ending Ashen Horde’s run as a solo project. Portz drafted Stevie Boiser, known for his work with several tech death heavies, including Vale of Pnath, Inferi, and Equipoise. Notes Portz, “I always felt like the vocals I was doing was fine, but they never turned out quite as dynamic as I heard them in my head. Stevie’s skill will, no doubt, push Ashen Horde to a whole new level.” The first release with Boiser on vocals was “The Alchemist” 7”, which saw the band exploring black and roll, giving a nod to bands like Khold and Satyricon.
Which brings us to 2018 and Fallen Cathedrals. The album represents a more diverse Ashen Horde sound but doesn’t compromise on the intensity and aggression for which the band has become known.
Absolute Zero Magazine commented, “If we the underground can get this into the right hands Ashen Horde will be a major force in the extreme metal world for years to come.” Portz and Boiser are ready to see that prediction play out.
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“The ultimate modern death metal experience.” – Transcending Obscurity
“No matter your flavor of the extreme metal underground, Ashen Horde is bound to draw your attention and hold it…” – Dead Rhetoric
“If we the underground can get this into the right hands Ashen Horde will be a major force in the extreme metal world for years to come.” – Absolute Zero Magazine
“What we have here is some very competent progressive black death metal that would please the Behemoth crowd.” — Teeth of the Divine
“…every single moment is filled with an absolutely aggressive energy that does not let up.” – Head-Banger Reviews
“…[Ashen Horde] manages to mash so much together and actually make it sound good without it even seeming difficult.” – Metal Addicts
“Absolutely brilliant.” – The Path Less Travelled Records