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Ashenspire - Hostile Architecture CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.11 | 27 ratings

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5 stars 18th January: Ashenspire - Hostile Architecture (avant-garde progressive metal, 2022)

Last year, I wrote a bit about Countless Skies' Glow with the discussion point about the acceptability of plagiarism and overt influence. At what point does it become too much? Is borrowing ideas irrelevant when the music is still very good?

This is another prime example, but for totally different reasons. There's no genuine plagiarism here, unlike some parts of that Countless Skies record, but stylistically this is almost entirely lifted from one band - A Forest of Stars. The theatrical vocals, the saxophone, the black metal bursts, the drama, the atmosphere, basically everything except the lyrics are completely a continuation of the AFOS sound. I do think the change in lyrics is interesting, because whilst something like Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes is a silly, humorous and absurd album, this is dead fucking serious. Adversity, austerity and true Scottish anguish characterise this, and it's honestly incredible how well this style of music suits both moods. Perhaps that's why it's just so good.

But at the end of it, if you're lifting your entire sound from a band who have received endless praise for being utterly unique, is it really that much of a crime? We need more music like this, and the fact that they've put a different emotional spin (that AFOS would never do) does make this worthwhile. It's also just incredibly good on the music itself. If this was the next AFOS album, I would probably even say it was their best. It's dense, passionate, angry, melodic and utterly compelling. It also has a Scottish man yelling about the government in it.

Derivative as it may be, perhaps this is an evolution rather than a clone, because at the end of the day, I still absolutely love this.

7.9 (4th listen)

Part of my listening diary from my facebook blog:

Gallifrey | 5/5 |


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