Ashen Crown – Obsolescence
Release Date: 01/11/2019
Running Time: 42:24
Review by Sheri Bicheno
One thing you have to be absolutely clear about when you listen to Ashen Crown… is that you are going to get a walloping!
These guys have been going for almost three years and in that short time have taking a slice of the underground music scene like their very own hot morello cherry pie. SO! GOOD!
Their first major festival was Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage in 2017 and Ashen Crown have catapulted into both headlining and line-up shows including supports for some of the best; Obituary, Memoriam and King Parrot plus storming fests such as HRH Metal, Hammerfest, Uprising, and Manor Fest. This speaks volumes. If you haven’t seen these guys perform and want some filthy riffs to mesmerise you, then you have to give them a go.
Debut album “Obsolescence” does not disappoint.
I’m detecting tones in this album’s concept that a HUGE change will be happening in life before long… to become OBSOLETE! Faith, fate, politics, life and death or destruction! Lyrically, there are several tracks that shine a light on this.
First track ‘Unbroken Faith’ introduces the craft of Ashen Crown with ringing bells and rain, almost like something you would expect from a Black Sabbath track. Then an almost doomy riff slowly sets in… sedate, seductive…and then BAM, vocalist Kieran Scott starts off deep, gnarly and fast paced while the guitars, drums and bass come in hard, matching the vocals. It’s not very often an opening track takes you on a journey of pure onslaught and sets the bar for the rest of the album…however, ‘Unbroken Faith’ gives you tingling anticipation for what’s coming next!
On next track ‘Crimson Sea’, Mike Ellis’ drums are exceptionally fast and ever changing in direction. They absolutely batter you matching the aura of this album exactly. Guitarists Ste Fowkes, Jay Rogers and bass player Phil Milman take you down a winding path with their combination of riffs and strings. Let them take you with them…this is gonna be a hell of a journey!
What I really love is at about three minutes in the polar opposite happens… compete calm and all is quiet. Black and Grey…grieving strings and whispers which say “I wipe the ash from my eyes…, these rotting bodies burning around me!” The elements here are of an expression of loss and a fire burning dim. Use that as a metaphor however you might like. The beauty of music is that you can express it in any way you hear or feel it.
Then… we are taken upwards again through flames and utter destruction until the fade out. ‘Crimson Sea’ is going to be absolutely face-melting live!
Third track ‘Ultimatum’ hammers straight into you from the outset. This is a voyage of pure evil riffs and winding strings, fast paced and aggressive… then a third of the way through, another quiet section and a slowly rising shadow, with Kieran’s whispering growls and one heck of a build-up. The guitars here really shine and give you an utterly transdimensional space goat feel. (Rick here! I’m not quite sure what a ‘transdimensional space goat feel’ is but after listening to “Obsolescence” many times myself I can say that, whatever it is, it’s damn good!). Come away from this track with your mind set on what you should now fully expect for the rest of this album!
‘Right To Rise’ is full of riffing and hammering, the drums here are again, incredibly fast and pounding. There is no break in energy on this track and it full on pelts you. I imagine live it would suit those who like to non-stop pit throughout a song. It is absolutely chaotic and Kieran’s demonic growls are in full swing, in fact this is a very good example of how Kieran’s vocals and the rest of the band sync well with the pace. Fast vocals, riffs, bass and drums throughout… and they are perfectly in unison.
Track five is ‘Guilty Of Hatred’ and I gotta say – this reminds me more of a Thrash Metal Ashen Crown. Higher pitched vocals kick in half way through…“The voices speak to me. They tell me I am not the problem”! Say no more, the message is loud and clear!
This is a track full of energy and jump and I am envisioning a full on circle pit here in my lounge to this. I LOVE how this track is set out lyrically; sending the message of a battle of inner love and peace!
Next up is ‘Blood Beneath Us’ and, if you didn’t know, Ashen Crown have released an accompanying lyric video for this one.
This track introduces us to a suspenseful but mellow opening riff. Some hard hitting riffage and drums then come along and pull the metaphorical rug from beneath your feet for a little while. Then the chorus hits and there is a playful edge to of some of the lyrics. Pure evil tones are right here and then…Kieran’s demonic growls are beautifully accompanied and opposed by the operatic and haunting vocals of Francesca Stevens which places the perfect cherry on the cake to this track. ‘Blood Beneath Us’ is completely different to Ashen Crown’s other tracks and is a welcome change. There is a very beautiful balance apparent.
Nearing the end ‘Fall Of Thine Eyes’ gives us our last journey into that fast space rushing past you with harsh vocals and face melting riffs that get you moving like there’s a twister chasing you. This bit of chaos ironically eases us into the very last track ‘Under The Leaves’ which, shows a very raw, emotional and slightly softer, more melodic side to Ashen Crown. I think this one is one of my favourite tracks. It starts slow and spacey, taking you through the aftermath of all the chaos of the previous tracks… but still retains its own aggression and fire. I tell you what, turn off all the lights, lay down or chill out and blast this track. Let it take you places to still keep your fire burning…euphoria in the dark!
Also, it is worth mentioning that “Obsolescence” was recorded and mixed by Neil Hudson of Krysthla/Initiate Audio – hence, this beast of an album’s fantastic sound quality.
01. Unbroken Faith
02. Crimson Sea
04. Right To Rise
05. Guilty Of Hatred
06. Blood Beneath Us
07 Fall Of Thine Eyes
08. Under The Leaves
Kieran Scott – Vocals
Ste Fowkes – Rhythm Guitar
Jay Rogers – Guitar
Phil Milman – Bass
Mike Ellis – Drums
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.