Though I got this record a while back for review, I was quite pleased with it and felt that I needed to give it proper coverage. It is worth noting that just before I’d heard this record, I was having a first (and last) time listen to the latest Behemoth release, I Loved You At Your Darkest. Surprisingly, I actually preferred Ashes Shall Be Made Of Them to it, simply because of the fact that every song didn’t sound the same and the melodies were much more refined and coherent. As much as I loved The Satanist, this latest Behemoth felt rather bland to me and Ye Goat Herd Gods fixed that for me.
Okay, so “Ancient Hell” managed to cut off that ending solo, but I’ll deal with it. Of course, there was more to it than that, which was offered in its death/doom stylings. Thick, marching grooves were offered in “Arduous March” which also came with a punchy chorus and a passionately delivered vocal style. A strong solo is also featured. And if that wasn’t enough of a solo, then I got another one with “Bones Of Humanity.” Because who says that you can’t open a song with a solo? Already, this is more interesting to me than the latest Behemoth disc. Maybe the drums aren’t as mighty, but it’s a far more exciting album to listen to. “The Dreaming City” reminds me a little of early Amon Amarth, as I’m hit with a barrage of melody and melancholy at the same time. I miss that about Amon Amarth, so it’s good to see Ye Goat Herd Gods bringing that same feel here. “Helldriver” does just that, with a blackened/thrash feel that comes in hard and goes out easy. That might be the biggest problem I have with it though, as the track could have really benefitted from a solo. “I Am Reborn” begins at a grudgingly slow pace, but it quickly rolls into classic black metal and manages to impress me quite a bit. Throwing in a tasteful, almost romantic solo in there out of nowhere also intrigues me. “Remember Me” also delivers that familiar early Amon Amarth feel and lyrically it almost sounds like a love song. That’s not a bad thing though as there is nothing wrong with positive messages in heavy metal music. “Ribspreader” seems to also feature that same early Amon Amarth feel, so I guess I’ll just have to state that fans of Once Sent From The Golden Hall or perhaps even some of their later, more melancholy numbers might find something to like here. “Shade Of Astaroth” continues this atmosphere, with what I would consider to be the most bombastic and realized form of it. The final cut here is “Skål” which finishes this dreary pummeler with what I’d consider to be a relatively strong effort.
Ultimately, I’m quite pleased with the passion in vocal delivery here and was far more impressed with it than what I’ve heard from several other acts over the past couple of weeks. There’s just something about a realized vocal approach that outweighs the gurgles, shrieks and growls that I hear daily. I should also note that this isn’t the proper track order and apparently my tracks were not numbered correctly, which seems to have caused some error. (Sighs) In any case, the correct order for the album begins with “Ribspreader” and ends with “The Dreaming City” which I feel definitely fits. I would be fine with a closer in either “The Dreaming City” or “Shade Of Astaroth” as both seem to be capable of filling that area. I will add though, that I feel “Shade Of Astaroth” is a bit more grandiose in that respect and would be a much better closer. Even so, I am not taking an issue with the finale in “The Dreaming City.” All of this aside, I definitely feel that Ye Goat Herd Gods’ mixture of black, death and melancholic doom is one of the most striking packages I’ve heard this year. This music came out of nowhere and hit me instantly. That’s because the frontman here is not just going through the damn motions. To all of the other frontmen out there in metal music, I care more about your performances when it sounds like you actually give a shit. I know that seems harsh, but I hear so many guys just going through the motions. Where is your passion? Your spirit? Where’s the soul of the performance? Make me feel your words, because then you’ll have reached me on a far deeper level. Ashes Shall Be Made Of Them is definitely worth checking out and I’d certainly recommend it.
(10 Tracks, 43:00)
Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)