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June 13, 2024

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Star Of Ash
Iter.Viator (The End Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

For those familiar with her prior work as "Ihriel" from occult experimentalists, Peccatum, you will find the mystery and intrigue remaining firmly implanted on her solo project as Star Of Ash. The airy, aural moments serve as early indicators, as would the calm before an impending storm, serving similarly here, like a beckoning wind against the sensual pale flesh of youthful innocence, siren-like in their influence, and cautious in their approach; At once there's a combined essence of Gothic beauty and an ethereal innocence that fades to a facet of unfiltered noise, as one visualize an Isis-like conjuring, to a lesser emphasis yet a higher degree of dissonance necessarily expulsed here in an otherwise temperate environ of cool autumn air and trickling piano keys. "Iter.Viator" is an enchanting collaboration of radiant, edgy, and eerie tones that dash well away from a typically Nordic Black. Symphonically sleek and dramatic, particularly where songs four and five, "Beautiful As Torment" and "Death Salutes Atropos" are concerned, she and her usually full band of contributors, go heavy on the FX and merge early atmospherics reminiscent of the innocent peer into the dark that's quickly dispersed by choppy percussive dissonance and downscaled dread, where the forbidden shadow casts the wicked fright onto the unsettled senses; "Iter.Viator" is both entrance and exit music for the curious and damned, as her short and bittersweet lyrics might better reveal; And yet again, we're resolved to return to the "light," as in "The Nudity Of Light," previously touched upon on song two, "Sanies," and furthered here, amongst a gentleness of longing and a disquieting interlude, which is the earmark of many, out of the seven contained herein. The Carol Alt look-alike with the sensual almost disturbing voice follows a theme of lost, found, lost again, and an endless search that luckily, doesn't drone on too much longer than it needs to maintain enough listener interest and keep the focus on the electronically stimulated musical sweep.
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