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Ashen Mortality - Sleepless Remorse

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I still remember those Sunday afternoons in late 1996 or early 1997.  My wife would take a nap, and since I wasn't big on naps, I would whip out my two latest CD purchases, Paramaecium's "Within the Ancient Forest" and Ashen Mortality's "Sleepless Remorse" and listen over and over.  I loved those albums then and I still do very much.  I had never even heard Ashen Mortality's music when I bought the CD, but knowing that Ian Arkley was in charge, and seeing as how I loved his Seventh Angel days, I HAD to get this disc.  Now, Seventh Angel this is not...musically, vocally, or production wise, but it is still a very fine release that does however have many similarities to Seventh Angel.  While Seventh Angel stayed in the thrash range most of the time, Ashen Mortality tends to lean towards doom and death metal.  Sometimes very slow, sometimes mid-paced, and rarely ever speedy.  It's almost like it's still Seventh Angel, they just changed styles a little.  At one time this was my favorite death metal album I owned. Arkley's gruff growls and great guitar playing drench this whole album.  What keeps the songs from becoming boring though are two very important elements.  One being the very haunting keys.  They add so much atmosphere to the songs.  You can't help but imagine haunted houses, and medival castles, and knights, and haunted forests.  They use keyboards better than just about any band out there.  Another thing they use better than just about any band out there is female vocals.  Melanie Bolton does a marvelous job here.  Her voice is very beautiful and amazingly haunting.  Sometimes I wish she would just sing the whole song herself.  (I get my wish on their second album "Your Caress").  The ending of "Yesterday's Gone" where she sings with no music..."You're all I have now, I am old. The world outside, so bitter cold", just gives you chills.

There is no lyrics in the CD cover, but most of the lyrics are understandable.  Not as easily understood as on "Your Caress", but you can figure most of them out. Where you can however, we find some good stuff.  Like on "Sleepless Remorse" where the subject is abortion and "Cast the First Stone" where judging others is the topic.  While the production is far from perfect you can still crank it and enjoy your listen.  The only exception is "Separation".  This song may strain you speakers a tad.  It's probably the most haunting song on the disc though.  My favorite songs are "Yesterday's Gone" and "Sleepless Remorse", but they are all good ones.  Only 7 songs, but the CD clocks in at over 57 minutes.  So, it's well worth your hard earned money.

If you like "Your Caress" or if you are a fan of Seventh Angel, or Paramaecium's "A Time to Mourn", then this disc should interest you.  Not as good as "Your Caress", but definitely worth getting.  Overall, this is a very good release if you can find it. (Review by Matt)

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