StarofAsh – The Thread (2008)

StarofAsh – The Thread (2008, Candelight Records)

  1. How To Invent A Heart
  2. Him And Her
  3. The World Spins For You
  4. Drag Them Down
  5. The Snake Pit
  6. An Apology Gone Bad
  7. Blood Bones And A Skull
  8. Crossing Over
  9. Epilogue
  10. Neo Drugismo
  11. Neo Drugismo (video)

Featured Musicians:
Heidi Solberg Tveitan (aka Ihriel)
Markus Reuter (German composer)
Kenji Siratori (Japanese cyber-punk writer)
Kristoffer G. Rygg (Ulver)
Knut Bendlk M. Briestein
Knut Aalefjaer
Halvor Strand
Knut Buen (Hardingrock)

Total Time = 41:55

StarofAsh official website
StarofAsh MySpace page
Candlelight Records USA

THE THREAD is the second solo album for Heidi Solberg Tveitan (Ihriel) from Peccatum/Hardingrock. You might also remember Tveitan because she is the wife of Emperor frontman, Ihsahn. Despite her husband’s heavier direction with Emperor, this Norwegian singer/songwriter has developed her solo career under the moniker, StarofAsh, and has created some beautiful, ambient, experimental music.

THE THREAD is not Heavy Metal of any kind, nor is it Hard Rock. What is found on this album is an encompassing grand composition that leans more toward Classical, Folk and New Age. The songs are sweeping and ethereal while retaining a a haunting, almost creepy, quality without trying to be scary. It’s all very interesting actually. Piano, Mellotron, acoustic guitar, fiddle, horns, keyboards, drums, light bass…..all these instruments are beautifully blended together to create a “quiet” wall of sound. There is not a lot of extra sounds or effects generated from computers like others in this style use, every sound is accomplished on instruments. Most of the songs are instrumentals and about half have lyrics. Tveitan’s vocals are beautifully done and Kristoffer G. Rygg from Ulver guests on ‘Blood Bones And A Skull’. ‘Neo Drugismo’ features spoken word lyrics from Japanese writer Kenji Siratori beneath a drifting piano.

Bottom Line:
As I mentioned, this is not Heavy Metal so I wouldn’t expect it. The songs on this album are experimental, avant-garde, and ambient music. There is a New Age quality to the album but we’re not talking Enigma or Enya. I liken this project as something The Gathering started with MANDYLION (1995) and perfected by the time they released HOW TO MEASURE A PLANET? (1998). When I saw who was behind StarofAsh (Tveitan), and the affiliated bands, I thought I would find an album of Gothic Metal like Epica or After Forever. In a way, I’m a little disappointed that this album doesn’t have any Metal and doesn’t rock out. I’m also a bit surprised because it was something totally different than I’m accustomed to and I enjoyed the musical passages/songs. Best song here: ‘Blood Bones And A Skull’.

Current Playlist

I’ve been concentrating on a few albums I’d like to do reviews on soon but I had to put on some Motley Crue to get in the mood for the press conference.

Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love (1982): Had to gear up for the big Motley Crue press conference with my favorite Crue record.

Wicked Stick – Ill Inspired (2007): Getting this ready for review.

Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007): I never get sick of Lana Lane albums and this one is excellent so far. Another up for review this week.

Don Dokken – Solitary (2008): I’m trying to get through this one but it’s hard to take in. It needs many focused listens because it’s a departure from the typical Dokken sound. Review up this week.

Dokken – Shadowlife (1997): This album and SOLITARY, Don’s new solo disc, are very similar. I’m trying to compare both because I liked parts of SHADOWLIFE.

StarofAsh – The Thread (2008): Heidi Solberg Tveitanm, aka Ihriel from Peccatum, has released another ambient Metal solo record full of orchestration and experimentation. Reminds me of The Gathering – Nighttime Birds (1999) with no vocals.

Pharoah – Be Gone (2008): I’m enjoying this one a lot and I should have this review up end of next week in time for the U.S. release.

Zero Hour – Dark Deceiver (2008): Gave this one a quick spin this morning so it’s too early to comment. Album release date is 4/29/08.