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Ingested / Ashes Lie Still their most ambitious and impressive offering to date

The Kings Of Slam Ingested are now slimmed down to a trio. Drummer Lyn Jeffs, guitarist/backing vocalist Sean Hynes and vocalist Jason Evans are back with their latest brutal offering, Ashes Lie Still which the band say is “a modern essential.”

Ingested – Ashes Lie Still (Metal Blade Records)

Release Date: 4 November 2022

Words: Jools Green

“If you like heavy music, it will be nigh on impossible for you not to find something you like about this record,” the band told MetalTalk. “It still has the core Ingested elements of groovy slamming riffs, quick drumming, and guttural vocals, but there’s also atmosphere, ethereal moments and some raw old-school aggression. Given the quality of the ten tracks on Ashes Lie Still, I’m inclined to agree with that statement.

The slimmer line-up hasn’t impacted negatively on the sound. If anything, it’s leaner, meaner and more complex. “We are all on the same page musically,” the trio says, “and we three share the same vision for Ingested. We know where we want to go. Sean always wrote 90% of our music, so becoming a three-piece didn’t actually affect the way we approach writing albums. We’ve just streamlined our process and are now more productive.”

Given Sean’s hugely prolific nature in the writing department, they are never short of material, especially the extra writing time made available due to the pandemic.

The album title and accompanying opening title track, again written by Sean, is primarily about his father dying suddenly at the start of the pandemic and not being able to say goodbye properly.

“Losing a parent is obviously a big moment in anyone’s life,” they say, “and there were collective and individual battles we were all dealing with over this period and for many years, to be honest. We all thought that Sean’s lyrics for Ashes Lie Still encapsulated everything perfectly, so we decided on the album title based on that. It’s turned the entire process into quite a cathartic experience for us all. We’ve never really had that feeling with an album before.”

Ingested - Ashes Lie Still
Ingested 8211 Ashes Lie Still

Across the whole release, they draw from personal experiences, feelings, thoughts and perspectives, taking in the ups and downs of life to create lyrics. In particular, they say that Echoes Of Hate is about the experience of being physically attacked by someone who was supposed to be a family member and the subsequent fallout of the situation.

All I’ve Lost is about addiction and the cost and effect it has on loved ones. Then there is Shadows In Time, which is about casting off shackles and leaving negative people behind.

As with many of the past releases, they have brought in guest vocalists to “add new dimensions to the record.” Firstly the opening track, Ashes Lie Still, features Julia Frau, and what they have done here definitely adds a different, subtly eerie and haunting quality to what is still a brutal track.

“We felt that we had a really good chorus,” they said, “but we wanted to use Julia’s voice as a vocal-style synth to back up that section instead of using a plugin. But while she was tracking, we kept on trying ideas, and eventually, the full lyrical chorus was born. It’s incredible how ideas develop in the moment when you’re working with people who have different talents to yourself.”

Shadows In Time pulsates with energy. An intense, unrelenting beast of a track that slams with intent but also has an occasional melodic and technical element. The vocals are delivered mostly with brutal growling clarity and occasional indecipherable squeals and with a burst of squealing leadwork at the end. A superbly constructed piece.

In contrast, You’ll Never Learn has a punchy hypnotic groove, turning more haunting towards the close, the drum work blasting its way through along with sinister snarling vocals.

Tides of Glass is slower, darker and sinister to open, a powerfully heavy piece that packs a punch. I love how the dark riffing midway suddenly turns into a brief burst of soaring leadwork before plunging back into the brutal depths again, a very emotive track.

From Hollow Words, which has a real pounding, up-tempo drive to its construct, features guest vocals from Aborted’s Sven de Caluwé, adding an extra layer of snarling brutality to the lyrical content.

I love the opener on Sea Of Stone, ominous and sinister but melodic, merging into something punchier, the ominous melodic element coming back towards the close. Possibly my favourite track but don’t hold me to that because the competition for that accolade is fierce across the whole album.

All I’ve Lost features the final guest vocalist, Trivium’s Matt Heafy. “An absolute legend,” the band said, “we got chatting to him online a few years ago after he posted about how much he liked a song we’d released at the time. We ended up getting him in a lockdown music video we made during the pandemic, and he said if we ever wanted to get him on a song, he’d be well up for it. So we knew we had to invite him to be part of this album. His vocal performance on the song is mesmerising. From the huge chorus hook to his aggressive verses, he truly captured the desperation of the track.”

Here a haunting keyboard-led opener switches to more familiar crushing Ingested style brutality, Matt’s vocals adding an acidly raw extra layer to the vocals, that haunting mood returning in the chorus. A powerful and emotive track.

With Broken Wings packs a punch from the offset and doesn’t relent. It marches steadily along and takes no prisoners. Echoes of Hate also has an eerie build which merges seamlessly into classic Ingested guitarwork but ramps up further into riffs that are complex and delivered with furious pace. The vocals constantly cut a swathe through the music, and the pace has a very defined and complex ebb and build throughout, making it a hugely engaging listen.

The final track, Scratch The Vein, demonstrates the use of new elements possibly better than any other track. It’s an eerie crusher hugely different in pace and construct from the rest of the album and from what you normally expect from Ingested. With a superbly haunting lead passage in the second half, it is a perfect way to end the album, proving that even after sixteen years, they’ve still got plenty of surprises up their collective sleeves.

Ashes Lie Still is Ingested’s most ambitious and impressive offering to date. A must for lovers of the Brutal end of Death Metal, it is guaranteed to clear away those mental cobwebs and get the pulse racing. Go get some!!

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