A new gem coming from Italy, and released on the label Swiss Dark Nights, also the home of Geometric Vision with whom similarities are obvious, Oblivion is Ash Code’s first album. Behind the name Ash Code, Alessandro and Claudia, two youngsters with a clear talent in writing and playing catchy dark tunes. After a short spoken atmospheric intro giving solemnity -“Void”- (noticeable that Geometric Vision used the same kind of intro on Dream, and I’ll stop with G▼ now), the band starts with a first killer track. “Waves with no shore” is a first impression of what the album is made of: Danceable drum machine beats, deep basslines and evolving synths melodies. All that topped with the cavernous vocals of Alessandro, very dramatic and peculiar in that they are somewhere between sung and spoken.
As you have guessed all that synth-bass-drum machine make it all sound very old school. “Dry Your Eyes” is for me the best song on the album. Previously released on 7”, it’s a relentless bass covered with a basic yet extremely effective synth hook and makes you feel like you’ve known this song forever from the first listen. So danceable all DJ’s should include it in their set. With “Crucified”, the album moves up a gear. The band certainly knows how to create a distinctive atmosphere, and all the panting and screaming, together with the frantic pace of the drum machine bring to mind a car chase from an 80’s horror-movie. Next track is “Oblivion”. Close your eyes and you’re back at your parents’ house in ’86, and this is the soundtrack to your first scary movie, the one you sneaked out of bed to watch on VHS.
On the second half of the album, haunted synths and unstoppable drum loop make of “Unnecessary Songs” another dancefloor filler, full of noises and effects. Follow “Empty Room” and “Drama” (with female vocals), slightly less dark but not less interesting. Probably the most drama-filled song on Oblivion, “Want” brings out the big guns: distorted guitars, frantic beat, and a nerve-racking synth hook. The perfect climax song before the traditional laid back epilogue, “North Bahnhof”, its melancholic atmosphere, hypnotic beat and oppressive effect.
Oblivion is just the beginning of Ash Code, and I am sure there is a lot more good to come from this band. Darkwave with hints of synthpop, catchy and tormented. Thanks for this first release and thanks also to Swiss Dark Nights for keeping the underground alive and bringing such cool music to the dark souls!►by Guillaume Renard.
Ash Code – Oblivion (2014)
Swiss Dark Nights