As Heaven Turned to Ash (Reissue)

I was a mere reviewing infant when Massachusetts’ Warhorse dropped their lone full length album back in 2001. And while digitalmetal.com covered the release, I never got around to hearing it, and many of you might not have also.  Luckily, Southern Lord Recordings is here to assist you and reintroduce you to one of the more revered US doom albums of the 00s.

What we have here is a heavy, groovy stoner doom album that has heavy and familial ties to the likes of Sleep, Acid King, Grief  (Warhorse guitarist Terry Savastano played in Grief) and other like minded US doom acts of the time, and to these ear i hear a heavy Cathedral influence as well. And while I’m normally not into that type of traditional doom, a couple of things get me into this record’ One, the production is heavy and as fuzzed out as Chewbacca’s taint  and I’m a sucker for a super low end production like recent act Conan. Second, the riffs, while certainly a groovier and stoner crawl and haze, they also have a certain traditional charm  and full on doom heft/crawl.  And third, the vocals. They avoid the traditional doom wail and croon, going for a gruffer throaty shout, not unlike Cathedral’s debut, keeping things a in a little more extreme pastures.

The album itself contains 9 tracks, three of which are instrumental/acoustic numbers, that serve to break up the monolithic, chest collapsing groove and heff of the other 6, lengthy tracks. After one of said instrumentals,”Dusk”, the band lurches right into “Doom’s Bride” a full on fuzzed out, heaving crawl of a number littered with psychedelic little injections here and there to keep you on your toes and at about 5 and a half minutes in it goes full full on rollicking Cathedral groove, and I love it.

“Black Acid Prophecy” start with a languid, psychedelic bass run before another slab of huge, lumbering doom n groove with a satisfying, rumbling final couple of minutes. The albums three other lengthy tracks “Scrape”, the trippy drone of “Every Flower Dies No Matter the Thorns (Wither), with its more restrained watery vocals,  and the aptly named “Lysergic Communion” all follow suit with monster, mind expanding sludginess. The latter of which is a numbing, crawling, feedback laden, 10 minute monster.

As a bonus, this reissue get the band’s final EP, I Am Dying, which is two songs, 12 minutes of yet more excellent stoned out doom which blends seamlessly with the album material, especially “Horizons Burn Red”. It’s a shame these guys only did the one album, but the one they did do is a pretty damn solid legacy and a pillar in a stored US doom hierarchy.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 11th, 2015


  1. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    Posting the link to the digitalmetal.com review was a really nice touch!

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