Review: ASHEN RIID — “Hell’s Frequencies”

This is a debut release on the Macrofonie record label by an Italian musician ASHEN RIID. Previously the artist has released hip hop singles with black metal/horrorcore aesthetics under the pseudonym Yung Belial. This record lands into power electronics in the vein of Whitehouse. I admire genre-hopping artists, so I decided to give this a shot.

ASHEN RIID cover by xxvnii
artwork by: xxvnii

You’re hellbound right from the start with the unnerving “Enter The Void” throwing pulsating low-register noise for maximum distress. The small intro track revolves with a 3-note theme before falling further into the abyss of “Disintegrated”. There is a constant sense of distress with a lot of care put onto the progression of the track. The pulsating bass kick is clearly coming out of the artist’s previous endeavor with hip hop. This allows giving the industrial noise-scapes a momentum to go into exciting territories.


By the time the listener reaches “Mindcage”, you can clearly tell that this trip through hell is going further downward just by the appearance of vocals. That is, of course, if you can call this pain-inducing choking as vocals. It is distressing to hear and yet it feels so appropriate in this hellish nightmare. “Pulsating Glass” tones the pain down a bit, but introduces great noise production with a set of harsh noise pulses and a tanpura that does its best to deceive the listener that this is a peaceful hell pit.

After a minor interlude on “Dead Machine” (once again the kick drum pulse thump regulating the direction of the track’s movement), the short trip to hell continues on “Swearword” that takes a minute to reintroduce guttural screams back into the picture. This time they seem to float over the hell ambient with slight delay applied. By the end of the track, we get a fantastic shuffle that speeds things up before complete disintegration.


On the finale “365 Degrees Of Existential Dread”, ASHEN RIID takes all the weapons introduced in the previous 20 minutes and amplifies them even further. It ends up sounding like something post-90s Merzbow would do but with a higher vocal presence. It’s a satisfying finale that makes the silence at the end of the record feel like a breath of fresh air.

The recording is fairly short, but it explores several plains of digital noise without sounding overly derivative. It’s usually a huge trap for noise in general and I’m glad to say this one avoids it. The atmospheric build ups on the tracks have a purpose, the tracks “go” somewhere and they do instill the theme of the album in the listener’s mind. I’d be interested to see how ASHEN RIID will evolve as an artist past that and if we’ll be able to see any glimpses of any other musical influences appear.

Yung Belial

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