Warhorse
As Heaven Turns to Ash

Simply put, Worchester, MA, doom trio Warhorse is heavy as fuck. Crushing, intestinal moving doom metal is something that only a few bands do remarkably well – Cathedral’s first demo and album, the last two Sleep albums, Burning Witch, Grief and Electric Wizard’s albums immediately come to mind – and As Heaven Turns To Ash sees the trio ascend to those same heights.

Building slowly from the quiet, pensive opening instrumental “Dusk” straight into the nine minute plus dirge of “Doom’s Bride,” the band hits its stride and locks into a repetitive heavy hook and never looks back. Led by the spot on, heavy hitting drum style of Mike Hubbard (ex-Infestation), who plays it relatively simple but pounds hard throughout, the trio works really well together at locking into a groove and staying with it, something which I feel is an absolute necessity for this style of music to make the most impact. The tempo change around the five minute mark of “Doom’s Bride” is done perfectly and shows just how effective they are at getting into the zone.

Vocally, bassist Jerry Orne’s style is closest to that of Sleep’s Al Cisneros on that band’s defining moment, Jerusalem. His phrasings are done primarily in a monotonous tone, which manage to make the lyrics seem even that much more menacing than they really are. Hearing him bark out lyrics like “Altar of dawn, bury me in light / Crimson eclipse, Blood and Body ignite” (from “Lysergic Communion”) is enough to make a doomhead really smile and take notice.

The most outstanding accomplishment on the record, however, has to be the band’s ability to travel from quiet introspective parts to crushing heaviness and back within a single song. They manage to shift dynamics with such ease that it is a real delight to participate in the journey. The band is currently on the road in North America with Electric Wizard and judging from both band’s latest discs it may be the best underground doom tour in a long time.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Sean Palmerston
September 29th, 2001

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