The American industrial metal landscape has been furrowed anew with a trenchant furor by Ash Prison. Formed by a triad of subgenre-explorers—Matt Auxier of electro-industrial ensemble 6th Circle, bassist J. Thompson from East Coast darkwave outfit Child Ov Night, and California-based Italian vocalist M. Alagna of Abstracter and Somnolent—Ash Prison represents a chaotic ensemble, a convulsion in the still waters of industrial metal.
The latest offspring of this collaboration is the track “Death Reborn,” a gnarled limb from their upcoming debut album, “Future Torn.” Scheduled for a worldwide release on September 22, 2023, the album comes courtesy of Sentient Ruin Laboratories—a label that seems almost divined to shepherd Ash Prison’s fusion of industrial, punk, and metal.
Stalwart underground alternative and punk blog No Echo foretold the coming of “Future Torn,” describing the band’s track “Scorn” as a harmonious union of “cacophonous musical arrangements” and “extreme vocals.” If their words carry weight, then “Death Reborn” may serve as another auditory crucible where turbulent musical elements meld into something darkly exquisite.
Ash Prison’s debut album might best be described as a cacophonous revelry in the interplay between mechanized rhythms and raw strings, bridging the organic and inorganic in a singularly dystopian vision. With direct nods to industrial pioneers like Ministry and Skinny Puppy, as well as black/heavy metal icons such as Mayhem and Motörhead, Ash Prison takes the listener on a harrowing journey through a future spiraling into disarray. Here, our failed state is laid bare, consumed by its own chaos and injustice, as envisioned through incendiary guitar work and abrasive vocal renditions.
“Future Torn unites various eras, decades, and interpretations of musical insurrectionism to create its own divergent idea of ‘anarcho-punk,’ post-industrial dystopia, and heavy metal destruction.”
The framework of “Future Torn” is unapologetically severe: a grinding backdrop of cold sequences, relentless drum machines, and bulldozing bass lines sets the stage for a disconcerting cacophony of guitars and vocals. These elements are inspired by iconic underground vocalists like Sakevi Yokoyama and Attila Csihar, providing a mouthpiece for the album’s narrative—a dissenting appraisal of societal decay and the violent retribution it begets.
And yet, amid this bristling and jarring landscape, we find smatterings of nuanced refinement. Adjacent influences of post-punk, gothic rock, and even dark ambient provide punctuations in the monolithic sonic structure, rendering the work as diverse as it is dense. This multiplicity lends the album a textured unpredictability, sustaining its tension across thirty-plus minutes of what could only be called a grim auditory upheaval.
For those eager to submerge themselves in this tumultuous soundscape, Sentient Ruin Laboratories will be rolling out “Future Torn” in LP, MC, and digital/streaming formats, accompanied by album-themed apparel. This gives fans diverse channels through which to experience and internalize this relentless auditory challenge.
In closing, Ash Prison offers a complexly dissonant art form—a hyper-concentrated extract of cross-genre influences distilled into a bitter essence of modern-day malaise. They are neither the saviors of industrial metal nor the vanguards of a new era, but rather earnest architects of a sonic space where the future’s grim potentialities can be faced, albeit through the relative safety of our headphones.