Rising - To Solemn Ash
Exile on Mainstream Records
Sludge Rock
10 songs (48:04)
Release year: 2011
Exile on Mainstream Records
Reviewed by Goat

Danish sludge trio Rising pound out a form of sludgy rock that will please the ears of latter-day Mastodon and Kylesa fans. Ignoring the proggisms of the former and the psychedelia of the latter, however, Rising prefer a more straight-forward hard rockin’ stomp that results in a slightly samey debut album with enough tunes to keep your head nodding nonetheless. More High On Fire than Sleep in doomy terms, then, and with just a tough of Grand Magus-esque heavy metal pizzazz to keep you entertained, Rising draw on a broad base of influences to form their sound, and do it well. Moving from menacing to melodic in the space of minutes, the band are clearly competent at their sound, but whether they’ll be able to build upon this to provide a sound and style that is truly their own is up for debate, at this point. For what it’s worth, To Solemn Ash is a good if not great album, producing moments of brilliance but failing to build them up into a brilliant album.

You never get the feeling that the whole is more than the sum of its parts – instead, this is about letting each song do its individual thing. Opener Mausoleum explodes into life, powerful and catchy riffing driving the song, followed by Sea Of Basalt, doing much the same thing, and then so on, and so forth. Credit where it’s due, however, Sea Of Basalt mines a deeper vein of catchiness than the tracks that surround it, and it’s in these moments where the band manage a connection with the listener that goes beyond decent riffing that Rising show their true potential. The likes of The Vault offer enjoyable enough riff-a-thons, but lack some of that extra spirit that made Mastodon superstars in the subgenre. Some of this will come naturally to Rising with another album, and some is already audible in the hypnotic Cohorts Rise which also features some wonderfully warm-sounding soloing.

There’s a lot of talent here, which only comes through fully on multiple listens. The ponderous and doomy yet oddly radio-friendly Hunter’s Crown or Through The Eyes Of Catalysis could easily have come from a recent Mastodon album, whilst the brief acoustic strums of Heir To The Flames offer intriguing opportunities for the band should they decide to go proggy in the future. Of course, it’s unfair to perpetually refer to Mastodon when reviewing an album from this genre, but until it injects a bit more originality in its aged veins, what else can a poor reviewer do? Rising are a name to remember, in any case.

Killing Songs :
Sea Of Basalt, The Vault, Cohorts Rise, Hunter’s Crown, Passage
Goat quoted 75 / 100
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