Ashes You Leave - The Passage Back To Life
2 August 1998

01. Salve Me (Intro)
02. The Passage Back To Life
03. Thorn The Dead Flower
04. Drowning In My Dreams
05. Lay Down Alone
06. White Chains
07. Tears (Through The Bleeding Heaven)

Ashes You Leave, at least in the past, where one of those bands that dreamt they were My Dying Bride, woke up and composed an album named "The Passage Back to Life". This Croatian band likes a lot, wrong word… Loves a lot, again wrong word… copies? Yes, somehow they tend to copy My Dying Bride, even some parts sound so much alike. The gloomy cover of the album with Virgin Mary and Christ's favorite student, John, weeping the dying son of god on the Cross informs the listener that Ashes You Leave move in doom/death metal soundscapes (I wish that the music could be as good as the cover…)

The violin melodies evoke a mourning feeling in the air but without reaching the intensity of Powell's bleeding violin pieces. The male grunts are really good, escalating the song when they enter, yet I cannot say the same thing about the Aaron Stainthorpe wannabe female singer, Radetic Dunja. Her voice is good, just good though, nothing extremely special (when she sings in a semi-operatic way she sounds wonderful but when the time comes to sing clearly she doesn't seem to be that expressive and expression in vocals is something very important, especially when you play music based on emotions, like doom/death metal). Interesting music ideas are quite obvious but Ashes You Leave except for copying My Dying Bride they tend to sound a bit boring. I'm not sad that I bought it, but I'm not happy either.

An interesting keyboard-based composition, "Salva Me", opens the album evoking a serene devout with a church-like feeling in the air atmosphere to slowly reach the title track, "The passage back to life". The whole song is an interesting on with slow doomy guitar riffing and some more aggressive moments enriched with beautiful-sounding melancholic violin pieces and Dunja's just good interpretation pacing with the whole atmosphere of the song. Bittersweet acoustic guitar chords open the next composition, "Thorn the Dead Flower", which is one of the "highlights" of the album with both slower moments with Dunja interpreting and outbursts with death metal grunts escalating the song. For one more time the violin adds a special aesthetic to Ashes You Leave's music.

The album flows with another instrumental piece, "Drowning in my Dreams", which is based on keyboard melodies and the violin's bittersweet sound evoking a tranquil traumatic atmosphere. "Lay down Alone" follows and continues the album in a devout doomy way with church bells echoing at times, repeated guitar riffing and the interesting voice of Dunja preparing the ground for aggressive outbursts with small breaks with the violin evoking bleak visions. The next song, "White Chains", is my favorite of the album and is a wonderful mourning doom/death metal composition with expressive death metal grunts, semi-operatic female vocals, nightmarish keyboard ideas here and there and of course the violin accompanying the slow guitar riffing. The album reaches its end in a tranquil way with "Tears", based on acoustic guitar chords and Dunja sounding wonderful with her semi-operatic voice.

If you want a My Dying Bride clone in your collection you could check "the Passage back to Life" (if I could turn back time i wouldn't buy it again), but in my humble opinion My Dying Bride are more than enough…

Band profile: Ashes You Leave
Album: The Passage Back To Life


Written on 24.10.2004 by
"It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."
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THE_BLACK_GOD - 28.03.2009 at 11:00  
A Despiteful review!, sorry but Im not agree that they has copied MDB's music. they influenced by MDB, thats all. and I like this album, its an avreage album, and a nice one for start a music. its not a copy I'll say it again, its a Gothic Doom metal IMO how can it be a copy of a Death Doom metal band? really I cant understand it. and about the vocals of Dunja Im agree with you.
THE_BLACK_GOD - 27.01.2010 at 07:56  
I have to add that I think this is their best album and deserves an 8 and my opinion about Dunja is changed nowadays after I heard their albums without her.

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