Friday Full-Length: Warhorse, As Heaven Turns to Ash

Warhorse, As Heaven Turns to Ash (2001)

I know of few people who’ve heard it who don’t count Warhorse‘s As Heaven Turns to Ash among the heaviest albums they’ve experienced. Released in 2001 in the early going of Southern Lord — the CD is catalog number “sunn9” — it proved once and for all the malevolent potential in heavy riffing, extended cuts like “Doom’s Bride” and “Every Flower Dies No Matter the Thorns (Wither)” meting out lumbering punishment while holding onto an almost impossible sense of stoner groove, the three-piece lineup of bassist/vocalist Jerry Orne, guitarist Todd Laskowski (now both in reactivated death metallers Desolate) and drummer Mike Hubbard (now in Gozu) building a destructive swing that would be short-lived but continues to resonate 13 years later, while also fostering a complex sense of mood in ambient pieces like “Amber Vial” and “Dawn.”

The record is out of print now, the 2LP version going for $50 and up, and it seems ripe for a reissue one way or another, but for a lot of heads, As Heaven Turns to Ash remains a kind of well-kept secret. No question it was minimum five years ahead of its time — if it came out today, it wouldn’t be groundbreaking, but it sure as hell would get more attention than it did in 2001 — but that’s part of the appeal at this point too. It’s one of those records that captured something special and all its own, and while many have made attempts at their blend of stoneralia, psychedelic doom and sludgy extremity, Warhorse remain carved out in time as a lost classic and yet another of the genre’s tales of what could’ve been.

Hope you brace yourself, and hope you enjoy.

I announced this earlier on Thee Facebooks as well, but next Thursday, June 5, I’m going to be doing a guest spot on Diane FarrisKamikaze Fun Machine on 91.1 WFMU in New Jersey. This is a station I’ve admired for years and someone whose contributions I deeply respect, so it’s an absolute honor. Her show starts at noon on Thursday. I think the guests come in at 1PM, but you should listen to the whole thing because she kicks ass. More info on that is here. Please listen.

So yeah, probably not too many posts on Thursday, since I’ll be driving back from New Jersey after that and between the two, that’s pretty much the day. Look out on Monday for a Tombs track-by-track from Mike Hill, and Tuesday for an interview with All Them Witches. I’ll be in NJ for most of the week, and I was hoping to find a show to hit in NYC while I’m in (or near) town. Haven’t managed to do so yet, but I’m not ruling anything out.

There’s other stuff going on next week too, but I can’t remember. If you happen to be at the Freak Valley festival in Netphen, Germany, this weekend, you have my envy. Enjoy, be safe and rock and roll. That’s a killer lineup.

I guess the “enjoy, be safe” applies across the board. Please have a great and safe weekend, and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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6 Responses to “Friday Full-Length: Warhorse, As Heaven Turns to Ash

  1. Steve C. says:

    Dude, yes! I remember getting it when it came out, and it is still in heavy rotation. One of the dirtiest, but heavy doom records out there. I would kill for an LP! I couldn’t agree more with what you say. Cheers!

  2. goAt says:

    Warhorse! Saw those dudes twice back in the day…they opened for a bunch of death metal bands in Worcester once…”We are WARHORSE, you HAAAATE us…” NOBODY GAVE A SHIT. Me and my buddies were up front like nerds loving the hell out of it. We showed our support by yelling “KYUSS!” “CATHEDRAL!”-I can still hear my voice echoing in the cavernous silence between their songs in that gaping shithole of a venue. I think Cryptopsy were headlining. Speaking of CATHEDRAL, saw those dudes open for Strapping Young Lad in Worcester as well…again, NO ONE GAVE A SHIT. Hilarious to see how things have changed, lead to gold.

    • I missed that Cathedral/SYL tour when it came through New York at Don Hill’s. Would have loved to have seen that as well as to have seen Warhorse. Fingers crossed for a reunion.

  3. RalphSnart says:

    I remember picking this up when I was also first getting into Sleep and Electric Wizard. Never did see them even though I’m from Mass. Takes me back to a time when slow, ultra heavy shit was really fresh to me. And it represents Worcester pretty well.

  4. darren says:

    great band and great album- I believe I heard through the rumor mill that with all the reissues that southern lord is doing they are finally reissuing this gem on VINYL! awesome news!!!

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