Star of Ash

Ilter Viator

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Momentarily stepping away from her day job with avant-garde metal trio Peccatum, singer Heidi S. Tveitan (aka Ihriel) assumes a mantle of mournful, dramatic sonic-scapes for her side project Star of Ash, coming off not unlike similar works by Kate Bush and the Cocteau Twins. Calling upon her many co-conspirators for aid -- including Ulver's DJ Trickster and husband Ihsahn of Emperor fame -- her 2002 debut, Ilter Viator, is as diversified and eclectic as one could hope for, meshing any number of distinctive and disparate styles (Gothic, electronica, orchestral, new age, dissonant passages) to mould a deceptively simple, surprisingly supple backdrop for her soothing, often whispered vocal delivery. Even finding a little room to rock out (see "Death Salutes Atropos"), the album offers consistently beautiful ("Chasm Blue," "Sanies"), regularly inspired ("Beautiful as Torment"), occasionally unfocused and meandering ("Odi et Amo") moments to choose from; but the overall impression which remains is one of a departure executed with both confidence and aplomb.

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