Rating:
8.5
Austere - To Lay Like Old Ashes
27 February 2009


01. Down
02. To Fade With The Dusk
03. This Dreadful Emptiness
04. To Lay Like Old Ashes
05. Just For A Moment...
06. Coma II


Pure beauty, atmosphere and emotion... You're doomed... An inescapable limbo as wave after wave of sheer, overwhelming passion strikes you with such force that your mind can't even begin to comprehend what is occurring. An overload of emotion, engulfing your heart in pain and despair before letting go and swallowing it up once again; this is what To Lay Like Old Ashes is all about.
The piercing shrieks, agonizing cries and tormented screams of the vocalist make it hard to hold back tears, as the keyboards and guitars overcome and consume your soul with powerful but graceful melodies that succeed in providing an extremely immersive backdrop. The drumming is superb, it feels simple but complex at the same time, hammering into your veins it keeps the emotion flowing in full force. Clean vocals are also present here and in full effect, exploding with beauty and bursting with raw passion.

The highlight of the album is definitely "This Dreadful Emptiness" engrossing, enriching, enlightening, depressing yet uplifting, this is an absolute masterpiece. All the other tracks have there own offerings that will make you want to come back for more but this is excluding the last track, "Coma II", a 20 minute snorefest boasting only a guitar and some distant sound effects on the keyboard. Now being repetitive in black metal is generally acceptable, but when it's for over 20 minutes that's just plain ridiculous, especially when it contains only one riff (yeah... that's right, I just said one riff). I'm sure this track was meant purely for aesthetics much like the bonus track found on the limited edition of Agalloch's Ashes Against The Grain for example, though it's just not necessary. It's a disappointing conclusion to a fantastic album that would have been much better off without it and like the name suggests you will probably fall into a coma attempting to listen to its entire duration. Since you won't find yourself listening to this "song" the album clocks in short at about 34 minutes (excluding "Coma II") and hence misses out on reaching its true potential.

Even with this downside, To Lay Like Old Ashes is still an amazing album, an incredible album, simply because of the unprecedented levels of emotion and atmosphere it not only contains, but creates. It is of great shame that Austere is no longer active as they're quite cable of some breathtaking and masterful music. So, if your a fan of depressive black metal, To Lay Like Old Ashes is definitely worthy of your attention and should not be missed.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Austere
Album: To Lay Like Old Ashes


 


written by Timmeh | 05.05.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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BreadGod - 05.05.2011 at 03:32  
'This Dreadful Emptiness' also happens to be my favorite song on the album as well. What really stole the show were the clean vocals. To hear clean vocals on a harsh, hate-filled black metal album was a complete shock to me when I first listened to this album. Not long after that, I began searching for even more extreme metal bands that also happened to feature clean vocals.
Troy Killjoy - 05.05.2011 at 03:44  
Wow. "Coma II" is probably my favorite song on the album, it's weird to see comments regarding how much of a bad song it is.

The song title is definitely reflective of the song's purpose; you're supposed to feel like you're in a coma. You only hear one repeated sound, a droning car engine or the beeping of your heart monitor... Why 20 minutes? Because 4 minutes isn't enough time to feel the true weight of that kind of emptiness.
Timmeh - 05.05.2011 at 03:49  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.05.2011 at 03:44

Wow. "Coma II" is probably my favorite song on the album, it's weird to see comments regarding how much of a bad song it is.

The song title is definitely reflective of the song's purpose; you're supposed to feel like you're in a coma. You only hear one repeated sound, a droning car engine or the beeping of your heart monitor... Why 20 minutes? Because 4 minutes isn't enough time to feel the true weight of that kind of emptiness.

Interesting opinion, though I think it really needs somthing extra and in the context of the tracks before it, it just does not fit.
Troy Killjoy - 05.05.2011 at 03:56  
Written by Timmeh on 05.05.2011 at 03:49

Interesting opinion, though I think it really needs somthing extra and in the context of the tracks before it, it just does not fit.

Meh, opinions differ. Personally I'm very thankful they created this without any extra, but I can understand others who would have liked to see it manipulated a little for at least some variation.

Good review by the way - a fair rating even though it appears to be one of your more favored albums.
Timmeh - 05.05.2011 at 04:01  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.05.2011 at 03:56

Good review by the way - a fair rating even though it appears to be one of your more favored albums.

Thanks
BreadGod - 05.05.2011 at 06:55  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.05.2011 at 03:44

Wow. "Coma II" is probably my favorite song on the album, it's weird to see comments regarding how much of a bad song it is.

The song title is definitely reflective of the song's purpose; you're supposed to feel like you're in a coma. You only hear one repeated sound, a droning car engine or the beeping of your heart monitor... Why 20 minutes? Because 4 minutes isn't enough time to feel the true weight of that kind of emptiness.

Quite the interesting interpretation you have there. Personally, I think the album would have been better off without the song, but to each his own.

Also, I was planning on writing a review for this album, but my laziness got the best of me yet again.
Slayer666 - 10.07.2011 at 22:53  
Not digging the album at all. These two dudes try pretty hard to be the Australian Drudkh, but they rather suck at it.

To me, this is a perfect example of a bad attempt at making an "atmospheric" album with a few relatively simple chords repeated over and over again that just don't do anything. Since I've already mentioned Drudkh, I might as well use them in a comparison. While they can chug the same riff for ages and still never get boring, Austere... no such luck.

It does have a few pretty good moments, mostly on "This Dreadful Emptiness", but not enough to make the whole thing worthwhile. And I'll never understand "Coma II"...

Seems I'm pretty isolated in my opinion though, it's quite praised on teh Interwebz.
Marcus - 23.07.2011 at 10:03  
I absolutely love this album, but I finally got around to reading the lyrics. Reading:

You bathe in the sunlight of spring,
While I'm forever stuck in this dreary autumn.
Like a flower that will never bloom

From This Dreadful emptiness was just crushing.
.:Jux:. - 03.09.2011 at 05:04  
Absolutely best! "Just for a moment ..." BEST!
Sad they are disbanded :'(
Boxcar Willy - 26.04.2012 at 18:55  
I love the vocals
Oaken - 13.06.2012 at 14:56  
Great album. I'd put it on par with Woods Of Desolation's Torn Beyond Reason. And BTW awesome review. I totally agree with you about the negative effect of "Coma II". If you're familiar with Drudkh's Autumn Aurora, then you must know the song "First Snow". It's like "Coma II" as both seek a trance-like atmosphere. However, in Drudkh's case, it's 2 riffs in ten minutes. With Austere, 1 riff in 20 minutes, which is way, way too long.
Timmeh - 13.06.2012 at 17:55  
Written by Oaken on 13.06.2012 at 14:56
Great album. I'd put it on par with Woods Of Desolation's Torn Beyond Reason. And BTW awesome review. I totally agree with you about the negative effect of "Coma II". If you're familiar with Drudkh's Autumn Aurora, then you must know the song "First Snow". It's like "Coma II" as both seek a trance-like atmosphere. However, in Drudkh's case, it's 2 riffs in ten minutes. With Austere, 1 riff in 20 minutes, which is way, way too long.

WoD's Torn Beyond Reason is great, I probably enjoy it a tad more than this one as it's a bit easier on the ears but they're very close quality wise. Thanks for the compliment to .

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