heavy metal

Ashes to Ashes Bio

Ashes to Ashes
Band members
Kenneth Brastad - Vocals Michael Stenberg - Guitars Björn Luna - Bass Ronny Kaasa - Drums Cecilie 'Zilla' Eidskrem - Keyboards

power metal

Ashes to Ashes look at '98 as the year that marked the real beginning for the band. In the fall the same year they began the work on their self financed debut album, "Shapes of Spirits". An album intended for promotional use only.

The band was originally formed in '92 by Michael Stenberg, Bjorn Luna and Kristian Johansen. Together with singer T. Foshaug AKA Strange Gentle, they recorded 2 sold-out demos in '92 and '94.

Singer Bjorn Torbo was brought into the realm in '95. He wrote the lyrics for "Dying room" which later appeared on "Shapes of Spirits" and was the vigorous front figure during their first gigs.

In '98, with 6 years of patient rehearsing and polishing, the group was ready to present themselves. In addition to re-arranging and re-writing older material, new tracks like, "Gabriel", "Divide & Conquer" and "Ad Infinitum" were penned. With the completion of these songs the band took huge steps forward and the musical direction of the band was determined. Ashes to Ashes had found their identity as a band.

Only weeks before the band entered the studio they recruited their new singer, Kenneth Brastad, after several auditions during the fall of '98 and Jan/Feb of '99. The recording and mixing took place at Gordon Studio with engineer Thomas Sörlie in the spring of '99. The basic tracks (rythm guitar, bass and drums) were recorded live, and the band used 40 hours, all in all, to complete the recording and mixing of the album.

The mastering were done by Tom Kvälsvoll at Strype Audio in the fall of '99 and in January '00 the CD was finally ready to be distributed.

The final result was an innovative and diverse blend of musical elements and included everything from classical music to heavy metal, with a strong focus and feel of the epic, atmosphere and haunting melodies.

The album got airplay in such places as Nova Scotia and Indonesia and received excellent reviews in magazines and webzines worldwide. Check some of them out in the Reviews section.

Public demands for the CD were actually so big that a second and third pressing of the album had to be made. As you read this, there are only a few left of the fourth pressing. Not bad at all for something that was intended for the press and record company's alone. Keep in mind that the band had no distribution network - and only one small vendor carried the album - which made the achievement even bigger.

High spirited by the outstanding support from the underground, Michael with partner in crime Björn, continued writing for a second album, loosely based on the seven deadly sins. The band wanted to maintain and develop their distinct and epic sound but also go for a more direct approach.

The band recorded demo's for; "New world obscure", "Dualism" and the title track "Cardinal VII" in the autumn of 2000 with engineer Per Amundsen, who also later engineered the album. These tracks were sent of to DVS Records and a record deal was secured after some months of negotiating.

In October the guys parted ways with Kristian Johansen and started looking for a new drummer towards the spring of 2001, when the first recordings for the album began. The guys got in touch with Cato Bekkevold, a well-known character in the Norwegian metal community, who played on half of the drumtracks on the album.

The arrangements and basic tracks were completed before the band entered EarAttack Studios for the recordings. They still wanted to have a fresh approach and keep some of the live feeling from their previous album. An example is the guitar solo in "Truth on scaffold", on which they used the first take. It was just a jam over the rhythm guitars while the engineer happened to roll the tape. Actually, most of the bass and guitars on the final version, are the first and second takes.

Ronny Kaasa was recruited as the new drummer in September and he did his half of the drumtracks before the mixing was completed the same month.

Tom Kvälsvoll at Strype Audio was once again used for the mastering in October 2001.

With "Cardinal VII" the band took an overall more "in your face" approach and direction. More upbeat songs but also heavy grinding stuff like "Truth on scaffold" and a 'doom mixed with classical music and Gregorian singing(!) number like "Sic transit gloria mundi". Classical music was also included in a bigger fashion than before.

It's safe to say that "Cardinal VII" contains more of everything compared to "Shapes of Spirits". Ashes to Ashes manages to keep their identity intact and flawlessly combines different musical styles without sounding schizophrenic.

In April '02 the band recruited Zilla as their keyboard player and continued rehearsing for the upcoming live shows that autumn. The gigs included performances at the Elements of Metal-festival in Norway with acts such as Einherjer, Arch Nemesis and Susperia, and the ProgPower-festival in the Netherlands with After Forever and label mates, Heaven's Cry amongst others.

2003, the band continues to play gigs and write for a third album.

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