Star of Ash

Picture of Star of Ash

Iter.Viator.

Star of Ash - Iter.Viator ©2002 Jester Records
1. Chasm Blue
2. Sanies
3. Beautiful As Torment
4. Death Salutes Atropos
5. The Nudity Of Light
6. Odi Et Amo
7. In The Throws Of Guilt

For those who don't know the bloodline of Star of Ash, this Norwegian outfit is the brainchild of one Heidi S. Tveitan. She's a bit better known as the lady voice from Peccatum.

All right, all you who just ran away from your computer screaming in sheer terror. Star of Ash is not Peccatum and you have nothing to fear with Iter.Viator. This is actually good music. Let me soothe you. There, there, everything will be okay. Mrs. Tveitan has been released from the confines of her unfortunately pretensious other project to completely and fully shine in Star of Ash. Moreover, she has a little help from her husband, who has been known primarily as the vocalist/guitarist from some obscure, defunct band called Emperor. Other nice chaps, such as Jester Records head Trickster G. also make appearances on this CD, so there's a lot of wholesome Norwegian goodness throughout.

Star of Ash is not a metal based experimental outfit. Certainly there is a sense of experimentalism, but it has more to do with electronics and a sound that perhaps current 3rd & the Mortal might put forth. Hints of 4AD Records lushness are prevelant as well as sideways glances at trip-hop and dissonant noise rock. Tveitan's soft, serene voice is given a very nice tapestry to work with and anyone who has wondered about her talent should be given stiff notice of how excellent she is. The moods contained on Iter.Viator. are all over the map, as the music constantly shifts and moves. Arrangements are quite busy with many things going on in the background. Sometimes there are instances where you can hear a modern Ulver feeling and other times it seems more like a Portishead-on-PCP mood. No matter what, Iter.Viator. delivers throughout.

Anyone who doubts Peccatum's necessity in life (and there's a lot of us) should completely forget the two projects are related and give Star of Ash a spin. Like 3rd & the Mortal's excellent Memoirs from 2002, Iter.Viator. is a journey that takes willing listeners on a fascinating voyage. With luck, Mrs. Tveitan will continue putting energy into this project as I'd like to hear where she can take it.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2003

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The Thread

Star of Ash - The Thread ©2008 Mnemosyne/Candlelight
1. How to Invent a Heart
2. Him and Her
3. The World Spins For You
4. Drag Them Down
5. The Snake Pit
6. An Apology Gone Bad
7. Blood Bones and a Skull
8. Crossing Over
9. Epilogue
10. Neo Drugismo (bonus track)

The Thread is the second Heidi Solberg Tveitan "solo" effort under the flag of Star of Ash. I put the word solo in quotations because this is far from what one might expect from the connotation of the word. Although she is no doubt the impetus behind the album, her voice and personality are well contained within the music without ever actually overshadowing things. Maybe the word "solo" is polluted by the likes of Phil Collins and his incessant warbling about things only housewives truly care about. And besides, what solo artist has a band moniker?

Anyhow, The Thread is a collaboration between Tveitan, German composer Markus Reuter and writer Kenji Siratori. On a musical level, the album falls into the territory that was almost explored by The 3rd & the Mortal before they detoured into trippier realms. The music on The Thread is a warm, lush, organic affair, traversing through various fields of pensive, thoughtful moods. The album retains a serene feel throughout, although there are moments of tension created by sound effects. Still, the most unusual aspect to the effort is that Tveitsan's vocals are sparse in appearance as a fairly major portion of the record is instrumental. However, a certain Kristoffer G. Rygg, also known as the Gallavanting Vocal Cords of Norway, makes an appearance on the record and a fine one at that.

Thankfully, Star of Ash is miles removed from the pretentiousness of Tveitan's earliest recorded appearance in Peccatum and a marked improvement over her Star of Ash debut, Iter.Viator. The Thread does well in capturing its mood and exploring it very nicely through the course of the album.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2008

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