I first discovered Ashen Horde back in 2013. I don’t exactly remember where I was or where I first heard Ashen Horde’s music, but I remember contacting founder and sole member Trevor Portz with my praise of his music and at the time considered working with him to release some music. It didn’t work out but nonetheless, Trevor keeps consistently putting out quality release after quality release.
Trevor is based out of Los Angeles. Among the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown lies an underbelly of darkness. That darkness and hatred for all things ritzy makes up Ashen Hordes’ vibe. Every release from 2013’s EP Ab Initio to the latest release Nine Plagues, is a barn burner from start to finish. Everything from Vintersong to Enslaved is here in a cohesive package.
I recently sent some questions to Trevor to assist me in providing insight into one of metal’s most underrated bands.
1. How did Ashen Horde get it’s start?
I suppose the beginnings of what would be Ashen Horde go back more than 10 years… I was living in Brooklyn and playing in a hard rock band, but still longed to do something in the black metal vein, which I’d done when I was younger. So I started writing BM songs here and there for a couple years, and once I relocated to Los Angeles, decided to finish them and put them out. I didn’t really know anyone in L.A., so I opted to do it as a solo project. Two albums and several EPs later, and it’s become my main musical focus… and slowly seems to be turning into a full band!
2. How/why did you hook up with Stevie Bosier (since you’ve been solo for so many years)?
In late 2015, I was diagnosed with rather large vocal lesions–bad enough to require surgery. I guess screaming my brains out for so many years finally took its toll… It was a pretty rough time, and essentially ended my life as a harsh vocalist. (Luckily, everything has healed and I’m back to normal, but not keen on going through it again).
So I obviously needed to find someone to take over harsh vocal duties. My brother Jeremy recommended Stevie, with whom he’d spent time in Vale Of Pnath. I loved Stevie’s vocals, but he was already in a couple other bands, and was thus very psyched when he accepted the offer to join. Since Ashen Horde is currently just a studio project, it hasn’t been too much of a timesuck for him, either. I’m beyond excited to release some of the material we’ve been working on. I think his vocals have pushed AH up several levels.
3. What is the scene like in Hollywood?
It seems to be pretty strong, but to be honest, I’m not as aware of it as I probably should be. I spend most of my free time working on music, and don’t go to nearly as many shows as I could (or should). I made a decision a couple years ago to put my own music first, and while that’s certainly helped me become more prolific, it has kept me from being as involved in the local scene. There seems to be no shortage of shitty, pretentious hipster bands, that’s for sure.
4. Are there are any plans for Ashen Horde live shows/tours?
We’ve talked about it a bit. Being in different states makes it tough, but depending on how the new record does, we may actually do a small tour in support. I won’t lie–I was a little concerned about my ability to both sing and play guitar on several of the more complicated songs, but now that Stevie’s involved, that fear has been quashed! I’m definitely keen to hear how our material will translate in a live environment.
5. What type of equipment do you use?
For recording, my main arsenal consists of a handful of BC Rich Mockingbirds (both six string and bass), an Avid Eleven Rack amp, Superior Drummer, Pro Tools 12, and shitloads of plugins and patience.
Live, I use a Mesa Dual Rectifier and Peavey Cabinet that I’ve had for many years. I’ve yet to find a better setup… though I am curious about using the Eleven Rack in a live setting.
6. Who are your influences?
When it comes to extreme metal, my influences primarily lie with the bands that first got me into the scene: Enslaved, Emperor, Immortal, Khold, Einherjer, Thyrfing, old Cradle of Filth, and a host of others. I’m also a big prog metal fan–Vintersorg, Borknagar, Leprous, and absolutely anything Devin Townsend. I think the prog influence will be even more apparent on the new album.
Though they probably haven’t had as much of an influence on Ashen Horde’s sound, I’m also big into Helloween, Stratovarius, Anthrax, Megadeth, Sepultura, The Cult, Therapy? and tons of rock and punk. Like so many people, I can trace my desire to be a musician back to discovering Kiss, albeit years after they’d shed the makeup and costumes.
7. Any modern bands that you especially enjoy?
Harking back to my answer about the Hollywood scene, I don’t spend a ton of time checking out newer bands. Anything I know about tends to come from friends! But I have been getting really into the post-black scene. Audn and Zhrine from Iceland, and NRCSSST from Lithuania come to mind as bands I’ve been listening to a lot.. Though he’s been in the scene forever, I’m loving Ihsahn’s solo work. Can Ensiferum be considered modern? I fucking love them. Moonsorrow as well. Though it’s entirely unmetal, Robert Pehrsson’s Humbucker has been high on my faves list lately.
8. Any bands in Hollywood we need to know about?
I wish I could tell you! Motochrist are pretty awesome, but far from extreme metal. I so hear that Ashen Horde is pretty fucking cool.
In just a few short years, Ashen Horde has managed to amass 6 solid releases. All the releases have been recorded and released digitally with some being released as extremely limited CD-R’s. Nine Plagues
is also available in a limited out of 100 double-vinyl edition thanks to some crowd sourcing from fans. All links below will take you on a musical journey you won’t soon forget.