Friday, 28 September 2012

Nux Vomica - Asleep in the Ashes

Let me begin by acknowledging that I have well and truly missed the currency boat with this review. Asleep in the Ashes was recorded in 2007, released in 2009 by Aborted Society, and only hit my ears a few weeks ago when the cassette arrived in the mail (yes, tapes are cheap and can still serve purposes beyond being ironic design motifs). Definitely a case of better late than never.

Nux Vomica crafted something special on this record. With six songs in about an hour, Asleep in the Ashes is a harrowing and ultimately cathartic metallic crust epic.

The songs unfold patiently and deliberately. They lull you into a false sense of calm with restrained, deeply peaceful, atmospheric passages, only to turn on a dime and bludgeon you with rapid-fire snares and throat-shredding shrieks. But just as quickly, they reach down, pick you up and light a fire inside you with a searing melodic lead blazing over a ferocious stomping punk beat, before shifting down into some filthy sludge to make you focus closely on that fire for a while longer.

The emotional push/pull is inescapable, and it seems pretty clear that Nux Vomica are aiming to extract and harness a response. They succeed by making the transitions between moods and styles within the songs flawless, and you can't help but pay attention because the changes are so damn fun to listen to. For example, the thrash part about halfway through "The Discussants" is as awesome as it is unexpected, but it makes perfect sense as a stop along the way. It works as the point where the song breaks away from its sullen, brooding beginnings and sets off towards its frenzied anarcho-anti-church devotional battle cry climax. And the album is full of moments that ensnare you like that. 

Asleep in the Ashes seethes with direct fury - to incite and agitate - but is also complex and contemplative, with more to be found with each listen. The individual tracks stand alone, but when you listen as a whole, and album closer "Kaumaha" sets you back down, it definitely leaves a mark.

For more information on Nux Vomica, read their bio here.



  1. Nux Vomica is a real gem for all the reasons you listed above. Their atmospheric work is as intense to listen to as their crusty, metallic blasts. Love this band.

    1. And if you like Nux Vomica, check out their label-mate Age of Collapse.