ARA SOLIS are a black metal band from Galicia, an Atlantic region in the northwest of Spain deeply idiosyncratic in terms of history and heritage, heritage which serves as a unique form of inspiration and drive for the duo. The beginnings of ARA SOLIS are difficult to trace and are often elusive, since the band was formed from the ashes of other black metal bands and solo projects. The oldest piece of recording is a rehearsal with different members to the current lineup dating from 2015 that never was spread. It is not until 2020 that the lineup becomes stable. Now, finally, their first public work is ready for immersion.
And immersive indeed is Ashvatta, ARA SOLIS’ first full-length. A band literally out of time, there is little to compare this work to in the nowadays “black metal” scene. One would have to cast their gaze far back into the ’90s, root around in its deepest and darkest cellars, to find sonic analogs – ones that would include Norwegians Thorns and Strid as well as Abyssic Hate and early Blut Aus Nord and NOCTERNITY. Still, that only tells half the story of Ashvatta; this three-song/37-minute album simply needs to be EXPERIENCED. A conceptual work, to be sure, ARA SOLIS roll out sine waves of minimalist-yet-memorable riff threaded through deceptively intricate song structures, and color that shimmering obsidian with dramatically atavistic percussion and ghostly synths hovering in the ether. That the tortured vocals span desolate yells and charnel whispers alike further adds to the dreamy delirium…a dark, desperate delirium that’s suffocating and spacious in equal measure.
An altar of golden sacrifice mightily arises ashore the tempestuous waters of Finis Terrae. At the sylvan realms of frost, the holy gate of light and darkness appears erected stone by stone to safeguard the transdimensional portal of heroic resurrection. The Garden of the Hesperides grows around. The ancient tree of life and death [Ashvattha, Yggdrasil] pours the sap of eternity in the ritual copulation of oxygenic and anoxygenic photophosphorylation. Mortals bow their heads toward the arch of heavens. The sword of the warrior reflects the light of the midday amidst the eternal dust of warfare. The moon reflects the light of the sun at night, lightening the hidden paths of the forests beyond reincarnation. War is the Essence. Living souls are reaped where the Phoenix is reborn.