Spotlight on Pagan Music

A weekly feature highlighting the best music from Pagan, Pagan – influenced, and occult artists. You can hear many of these artists on my weekly radio show and podcast, or you can check out the annual “Darker Shade of Pagan” music special available for download online.


Unto Ashes

Band Bio:
Unto Ashes, a neo-Medieval dirge band…are primarily focused on the exploration of beauty and terror in the realms of shadow and loss. They utilize acoustic and synthetic instruments to produce a foreboding gloom-scape of trance and drone; many of their songs are hauntingly beautiful, a dark harvest of abandonment and failure. Unto Ashes do in fact perform authentic Medieval music as well, but generally do so in a threatening, almost menacing way…

Unto Ashes web site.

Song download:
Winter Born (Mp3 file)
Allu Mari (Mp3 file)
A Hymn To Pan [words by Aleister Crowley] (Mp3 file)

Their song “Banishment Spell” appears on the 5th annual “Darker Shade of Pagan” special available for download, here.

Their song “Witches Rune” [words by Doreen Valiente] appears on my Samhain radio special available for download, here.

Video download:

“There are very few bands that can work magic with their music. Unto Ashes is definitely one. Like their previous two albums with Projekt, Empty into White is a deeply rewarding blend of hypnotic drums and percussion, mesmerizing female and male vocals and exquisitely played archaic and contemporary instruments, from dulcimers and guitars to keyboards and hurdy-gurdy. Some recognizable signposts might be goth or apocalyptic folk, Fire and Ice or Dead Can Dance, but really Unto Ashes charts a territory that is uniquely its own.”Ink19

“Unto Ashes’ Moon Oppose Moon isn’t going to be for everyone, and isn’t meant to be. Their obsession with the darker sides to life will no doubt turn many away from this music, but for those who have a fascination for all the night time things, Unto Ashes provides all one needs with elegance and artistry.”PopMatters

“The accomplished blend of dreamed-of past and modern times that Unto Ashes has made its calling card continues with Grave Blessings, another moving and at times surprising combination of musical strands. The core duo of Michael Laird and Natalia Lincoln again find a way to suggest they’re not so much recording a new album as channeling something mystic and strange”AllMusic

My Two Cents:
I have sung their praises before, and I’ll most likely do it again in the future. Unto Ashes are on the forefront of music made with an esoteric bent. Their sound is challenging, haunting, beautiful, dark, and full of life. When I think good things about “Pagan” music I think about this band. The fact that they aren’t a staple of every Pagan’s CD collection is proof that we don’t live in a just world. This is a band that will be copied and lauded as ahead of its time twenty years from now.

Further Reading:
Several interviews with the band.

Jason Pitzl-Waters