Ash Pool - Genital Tomb (Tour de Garde CS)
Although it appears to be kept somewhat on the down-low, Ash Pool is actually the black metal project of Prurient's Dominick Fernow and...somebody else (I'm not trying to be an asshole - I really can't find any information on who the second person is in the project and all the info listed in the notes is "no one - created nowhere"). I guess since this tape was released on Quebecois black metal label Tour de Garde and not on Dominick's Hospital Productions label, maybe it means he wanted to go it the "true" route than merely rely on people buying the tape due to what names were attached to it. Commendable, that. They also have a 7" due for a January 2007 release on the great Paragon Records label, who you may be familiar with due to releases from Eyes of Ligeia, Biolich, Rigor Sardonicous, Impiety, Diamatregon, and others. How did I come into possession of the tape you ask? Well, because of Prurient's name being on it of course. That and I was tipped off by local Quebecois one-man hypothermic drone unit Wapstan. Dude's the hook up, what can I say.
As for the sonics...well somewhat surprisingly, "Genital Tomb" is deprived of almost all of Prurient's noise moves except for the bondage/domination theme and the vocals where are becoming more and more prevalent in Dominick's Prurient project. In fact the opening track "Lascivious Tyranny" pulls out a a galloping rhythm that's as unmistakably black metal as any early Bathory or Hellhammer, but sounds as equally informed by late 70's/early 80's NWOBHM/speed metal, much in fact like the aforementioned bands. It caught me off guard (truthfully I was expecting something way more neo/industrial/BM/noise-ishlike Deathspell Omega or Anaal Nathrakh) but I quickly came to enjoy it too. The vocals (I believe both members share throat duties) are much more intelligible than I'd have expected as well, something that's aided by the reproducing of the lyrics in the cassette's fold-out insert. The duo cross all over territories with their voices, ranging from growling to screaming to downright clean vocal incantation, all without missing a beat. "Diminishing Obsession" on the other hand is quite a bit more "straight" BM if you will (or, at least more of what I was expecting) recalling the speed and deftness of Emperor circa "Nightside Eclipse". A blazingly quick guitar sound and trampling percussion join together in an unholy matrimony of lo-fi rough production buzz hell. The riffage is totally adept, the songs are well-composed...I'm game.
On the other side, "First Rape" only begins to start clawing at strokes painted by USBM loners like Leviathan, but other than that the whole tape stays (impressively) away from the "suicide black metal" shtick that's become quite the trend of recent days. On the contrary, "First Rape" is a lot more diverse than what'd you hear from typical USBMers who tend to pick a chord and, well, rape it for a good nine minutes. Ash Pool pack more diversity into the first three minutes of side B then some of those guys do in a whole album's worth, no shit. Not to mention the harrowing howls and shrieks and growls that do more than plenty to set the group apart on their own terms. Track ends with a total mudstomping drum attack as it spirals into the outer reaches of darkness and I must say it got me all hot n' bothered like. "Dragged Down the Cobblestones" opens with the same furious metal attack and features both members screaming in almost Nordician fashion as the duo power their way through a sheer brute strength, fust-pumping aktion.
I'm not only game, I'm a full-on believer, shit is the truth. Certainly worth an investigation if this sounds even remotely like your thing, I guarantee you'll be both surprised and pleased with what you hear. I don't know how many were made, but I wouldn't snooze (I got mine in an order from Tour de Garde directly, I'm sure they have some left still). And if you do, keep on keepin' on for that "Black Bondage in the North" 7".