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Ashes You Leave - The Cure for Happiness
CD Reviews
Written by Doctor T.   
Monday, 12 November 2012
Ashes You Leave CD Review
The Cure for Happiness


CD Info


Rock 'n' Growl Records 
9 Tracks

English Lyrics


I’m not familiar with a lot of Croatian music, but what I’ve heard really clicks with me. I think we’re all a little familiar with the history of the region, maybe that has something to do with the music, wouldn’t surprise me. And this band has been around for a while, doing some solid Gothic, and Doom Metal before that. There’s been a change with the lineup, however, and it’s a significant one. The lead vocals are now assigned to Italian singer Giada "Jade" Etro. It’s not a terribly big adjustment, both Jade and the previous vocalist provide solid vocals to go along with the male vocals and a first rate instrumental background. But the sound continues with much of what we heard previously, and I liked all of it. Of course, that’s just me, I like it dark and dusky, I’ll leave the Boy Band BS for someone else. And this one does go in darker directions, there’s consistency even if the main vocalist has a slightly different approach to things. You will never use any of these tracks for your wedding, your baby shower or for that promotion party. It may be even a little too dark for your divorce party. But, if suicide is in your future, keep this one in mind, it should hit the sweet spot with no problem.

Gothic has a certain style about it. It’s not uplifting in a general sense. It’s not supposed to bring you to a happy place. It’s intended to take you to a place where reality has a dark side. If this doesn’t work for you, there’s always the Bieber. If you’re ready for that walk on the dark side, come on, this will be truly satisfying music. The music is metal based, with the addition of a significant violin and some symphonics. But, the theme is remorse, the tone is pain, the music is intended to take you to places where your innermost thoughts go in directions we don’t always discuss. Here’s where the reality of fear and the questions of mortality meet, it’s where our innermost thoughts are hidden. What did they have in mind for me, am I ready to meet expectations, is it worth the effort, what if I fail, does it matter? No one has answers to these questions, but the questions must be asked, we do it late at night when the shadows cover our courage, or lack of same. Our lives are a constant reminder that we didn’t ask to be here, we were sent on this journey, who has the audacity to question our motives and why do they waste their time?

Of course, there is beauty, we welcome the sunrise, we celebrate love and the passion of our most intimate moments. We cherish the times when life brings a smile. But, even in these moments, the terror is only a moment away. And this appears to be the theme here. Ashes You Leave sees their mission of one of expansion. Witness the beauty, celebrate the wonderful, but be aware, the darkness is only a fatal second away. The musical vehicle to deliver this message is one that we can appreciate for the music, but one that we must visit in terms of the message. Misunderstanding this dichotomy relegates the music to something less than what is intended. Appreciating the merging of the two will only enhance the experience.

There are clearly two relatively distinct musical directions here. You get a metal component, one that is sufficiently satisfying for most metal heads. You get another that is more reflective, a slower waltz, heading towards the Doom Metal that is the birthplace of the band. And the lyrics, composed by Luka Petrovic, the base player for the band, make sure you take that waltz. It’s a message that may not work for some, but, for those with the courage to listen; this is some fine contemporary thinking. The guitars provided by Bero Poje and Matija Rempeši are augmented by a violin that takes the tone to a soulful place. That violin, provided by Marta Batinic has long been a staple of the band, and it provides a sound that enhances the message in a manner that provides substance to that message.

The CD begins with Devil in Disguise. Here we go straight to the more metal sounding material; we get the guitars, the violin, the pounding introduction. But, it becomes clear early on that this will be a different brand of antelope. The vocals are introduced but they yield to the violin, and a haunting message that takes us to the core of the thinking that will frame this CD:

Your lips spread poison / Your words reek of lies
Your caress is all but blessing / You are a Devil in disguise

The music continues with several tracks that mirror the darkness presented in the first track. These are sounds that take us to a more stark reality, one that reflects our innermost fears, our interpretations of life that we rarely discuss among the living. The musicians seem to have this approach down rather nicely, the drums pound out a beat that can only be interpreted as hellish. The guitars are there to reinforce this direction.

The Ever-changing provides something of an Eastern feel up front. We get a different feel from the guitars, at first. But, the violin catches us, and reminds us where we are headed. And, it ain’t a pretty place. Our vocalist wails, she mourns and warns us that all is not what it seems. We go to the ancient languages here.

Bequeath the gift from the weeping skies / The sheer sight of it will burn your eyes
The raw primal power from the celestial portal / That will tear at souls of each and every mortal
Tender hearts will tremble, feeble minds will break / In a new Eon’s rise, this is

.... seeing is not believing

ΧΆΟΣ for those of you not fluent in the language means “Chaos”.

Summers End takes us in a softer direction, initially. With this one we hear the beauty of the vocalist; we hear the more traditional metal sound that Ashes seems to be comfortable with these days, at least a little bit. But, the sound moves in directions that return us to the darker interpretation that reflect the core of the band. The death metal vocal is superb, and positioned perfectly, this is the way this message must be delivered, a softer component, hammered to the listener with a force that makes sure it is heard.

The last two tracks provide an interesting conclusion to the material. The Cure is an instrumental track; we get some fine guitar work that seems to be positioned as a short respite before the final statement. And that statement, For Happiness, is a pounding dirge that takes us to that final resting place. Here we meet that ground where all is finalized. This is the final scream for redemption, this is our final request. 

I never felt passion / So sinful and yet so pure
Help me to find a remedy / Help me to find a cure
I am the brooding incarnated sadness
Standing on the edge of sanity I am the cure for happiness

Well, that’s what you get here. You want happy babble, go elsewhere. But, if you value the dark strains of Doom / Gothic metal, this is for you. This is a band that knows the terrain. They’ve been there before, they have the maps. And you’ll never get lost here, unless that’s your goal. And the music will make that journey something special; it’s the Cure for Happiness.

9.5 / 10

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