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Unto Ashes — Moon Oppose Moon
(Projekt 106, 1999, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2001-03-01

Moon Oppose Moon Cover art

Every now and then something comes along that completely refocuses and reinvents a musical sub-genre. The introspective and sombre music of Unto Ashes — a sort of dark, pagan-influenced folk, is driven heavily by medieval themes and textures, and a cinematic etherealism that permeates each of the thirteen tracks, which are linked together with musical and spoken interludes for a strong sense of continuity. The band is presently a four-piece, but at the time of this recording (1998-99) featured six members playing acoustic guitar, hammered and plucked dulcimers, keyboards, harp, hurdy gurdy, cello, percussion, and hand drums, with three members sharing the primary vocal duties (male and female), and others contributing intermittently. The sound is very folky and acoustic based, often comparable to Serpents Egg / Aion period Dead Can Dance but with an expanded sense of lyricism and more cohesive vocal harmonies. The vocal approach is their strong suit, and tends to vary from one track to the next, with instrumental pieces interspersed, so the listener is treated to a sense of variety; in addition, one song is in German and two others are in Latin. With lyrics like “...our love was like a child that died” or “into the harsh sunlight you cast me out, and in this light I see the viper’s face...” one can get a sense of where they are coming from. A very impressive debut, and hopefully the recent personnel changes will strengthen them. Definitely one of the year’s best.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 21, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Unto Ashes

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