I SPIT ASHES – Inhaling Blackness…Reflecting Light

Massacre Records – Out Now.

A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it? Normally, I would agree, however, this is not always the case…Take, for instance, the album cover of “Inhaling Blackness… Reflecting Light”, the debut release of the German quintet I Spit Ashes.

Everything about it, the mood, colour scheme and general aesthetics, are reminiscent of those used by female-fronted symphonic/operatic metal bands. Instead, these fine Germans offer us tons of heavy Gothenburg-style riffs and deadly screams, adorned with discrete orchestrations and soft goth key melodies.

The style and tonality of the massive mid tempo riffs, incorporated generously in “Inhaling Blackness…Reflecting Light”, are nothing new to Metal, as they were first employed by bands like At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity in the early 90.

Further, and as far as the supporting keyboard/piano tunes are concerned, credit for the inspiration ought to be given to the works of the German goth metallers Crematory. What is it, then, that makes this debut album stand out from the crowd? Most certainly, it is the band’s ability to successfully combine these two quite different musical elements in a single coherent unit, which also happens to be fairly enjoyable to the ear.

The first galloping mid-tempo riff appears moments after the last note of the short atmospheric intro “N.D.X.” has made its presence felt, manifesting itself through mid tempo belters such as “Missper” and “Cracks In The Mirror”. The latter sports a groovy theme that would make many Stoner/Doom bands feel slightly jealous, if not intimidated. With an average length of 3.5 minutes, songs like “Eclipse” and “Error Concept I” are as much straight forward as they are urgent.

On paper “Crossing The Borderline” would be the last song to appeal to me as its melodies ‘look’ more towards the commercial side of things but the strength and quality of the melodies are such that I would say this is by far the best composition on offer.

The second truly impressive composition is “My Ulysses” – a five minute acoustic lament filled with beautiful harmonies and light background orchestral arrangements, while songs like “Towards The Sun”, “When Daylight Dies” and “Moonray Guidance” may not have managed to reach similar standards but are successful in keeping good momentum throughout the rest of the album.

I Spit Ashes have managed to achieve something really quite impressive in their debut release “Inhaling Blackness… Reflecting Light”; they took their first musical steps, promoting and indulging in a genre that has long been over-saturated and have managed to leave a very positive impression.

It will involve a lot of hard work and commitment on their part before these skilled Germans reach the point where they can openly challenge the leaders of their scene but all the early songs seem to suggest that this is not impossible. An impressive debut from a highly promising band.

John Stefanis

Rating: ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

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