Inspired by Swedish and Polish death metal, Ashen Earth founders Jeff Meredith (vocals) and David Cox (guitar) have taken their fascination with bands like Bloodbath and Decapitated and matched it with the prog leanings of more grandiose groups such as Opeth and Mercyful Fate.
“I think I can accurately say we’re a melodic death-metal band, heavily influenced by progressive and black metal,” says drummer Ben Wilson. “Melodic death metal is based on elements of traditional death metal — harsh growl vocals, fast tempos, and a focus on intensity — but with significantly more melodic consideration in songwriting. We’re intentionally progressive in our approach to songwriting, not shying away from using odd time signatures, unusual structures, and uncommon ways of writing passages if it better serves to express our musical intent and moves the songs along.”
New Ashen Earth Song
...drum play through
The result is unpredictable but engaging metal reminiscent of locals Ruines ov Abaddon, whose rhythm guitarist Pat Sissom is now with Ashen Earth. “We have moments that are musically intense, moments that are melodically engaging, moments that are technically demanding, moments that are more introspective, and moments that are many or all of those things.”
It’s been almost three years since their debut release, but the band is currently in the studio working on an ambitious full-length, augmented by new bassist Collin Adler. “It will be a concept album centered on a protagonist who, after surviving Ragnarok, the Viking apocalypse, leaves the Earth and travels to other planets to conquer,” says Jeff Meredith. “It will be a more progressive take on the melodic death-metal style, both softer and heavier than what we’ve released before.”
Drummer Ben Wilson answered our queries.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
- “Alcest’s Le Voyages de L’ame. There’s something peaceful yet angry and uniquely expressive and honest about Alcest’s music.”
- “Agalloch’s The Mantle. It’s earthy and desolate in its take on the sadness inherent in the human condition.”
- “Behemoth’s The Apostasy. The drumming on this album is still a huge influence on me. It’s intense, but markedly creative.”
- “Ihsahn’s After, prog saxophone doom black metal. Ihsahn has been a great songwriter since Emperor and, in his solo career, he’s added so much depth, breadth, and weight to his bleak, crushing chaos.”
IS IT DANGEROUS TO BE A DEATH-METAL DRUMMER?
“I’ve only gotten minor cuts, scrapes, bruises, and the like. If you move large drum sets on and off stages quickly, you’re probably going to bump something at some point.”
USELESS BUT FASCINATING TRIVIA?
“Rhus integrifolia, commonly known as lemonade berry, is a common native plant in Southern California, and its fruit is delicious. This might be useful if I get tired of city life and run away to the mountains for an extended period of time.”
WHAT IF YOU RUN AWAY VIA TIME MACHINE?
“Assuming I could bring modern tech and medicine with me, and that I can’t do anything to alter history, I’d travel to any year before the Europeans came to North America. I’d happily live in the wilderness for a year.”
“Death. Nailed it right away.”
WORST BAND NAME?
“Any deathcore, metalcore, or hardcore band whose name is a pointless phrase.”
BEST CONCERT YOU EVER SAW?
“Probably Watain. Their stage decorating is ridiculous. Or the time I saw Devin Townsend. A friend of mine called their mother, handed the phone to Devin during the concert, and he stopped the show to talk to my friend’s mother.”
“Hot peppers. I’m currently growing several varieties of them.”
ANYTHING MISSING IN YOUR WORLD?
“Probably a friendship or three or seven.”
PHRASE YOU NEVER WANT TO HEAR AGAIN?
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
WHO DO YOU TAKE AFTER?
“My father, mostly. We look alike, are introverts, read far too much, like similar food, and he’s the one who introduced me to a fair number of music styles.”
WHO GETS YOUR STUFF WHEN YOU DIE?
“That’s assuming I’ll have anyone to leave things to. I don’t have anything that’s valuable enough for my loved ones to fight about.”
WHAT’S YOUR DAY-JOB?
“I work as a sound engineer. There are also three other sound engineers in Ashen Earth.”
ARE YOU A GOOD EMPLOYEE?
“I’ve never been fired, only not asked to continue working at short-term jobs I’ve had.”
BEEN TROLLED LATELY?
“I recently got yelled at for several days via text for unfollowing someone on Instagram. I thought it was hilarious.”
YOUR FIRST TIME DRUNK?
“The first time I ever drank at all was on my 21st birthday at a piano bar downtown. My sister was excited to take me there. It was moderately uneventful.”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“I was a philosophy major in college and I am a huge nerd.”