Ashes You Leave - _Desperate Existence_
(Morbid Records, 1999)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Here's a band that really plays doom metal with female vocals, contrarily to so many "soft" doom bands in the genre nowadays. Dunja Radetic's vocals and flute and Marta Batinic's violin definitely contribute to the doom atmosphere. Dunja's vocals are not only excellent but also often quite different from the norm -- she experiments a lot with her voice and sings very emotionally. Not many male vocals (either grunted or screamed) are used in _Desperate Existence_, but they are effective. And then there is the instrumental side: while Ashes You Leave can use some keyboards and violins here and there and even some flute melodies, these musical flourishes do not detract from the doom atmosphere of _Desperate Existence_. Only the guitar sound tends to be somewhat weak (although the guitar work itself is good), and overall the production is just average, which is a shame (and one of the main reasons why the rating isn't higher). The songs are generally very well put together, interesting sections successively flowing throughout most of the album -- notice the almost Elend-like "Et Vidi Solem Evanere" interlude and especially the superb title track. Quality isn't so constantly high after the fourth track, unfortunately, even though there still are plenty of very interesting passages to be heard. Although Ashes You Leave come from such an unusual place for metal as Croatia, they can sure beat a lot of their much better known competition as far as -doom- metal with female vocals is concerned.

(article published 19/5/1999)

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