Ashen Crown – Obsolescence

Obsolescence Cover

Ashen Crown – Obsolescence
Independent
Release Date: 01/11/2019
Running Time: 42:24
Review by Sheri Bicheno
9.5/10

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.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Unbroken Faith
02. Crimson Sea
03. Ultimatum
04. Right To Rise
05. Guilty Of Hatred
06. Blood Beneath Us
07 Fall Of Thine Eyes
08. Under The Leaves

LINE-UP:
Kieran Scott – Vocals
Ste Fowkes – Rhythm Guitar
Jay Rogers – Guitar
Phil Milman – Bass
Mike Ellis – Drums

Links:
www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk
www.twitter.com/AshenCrown
FATangel PR Social Media:
F: www.facebook.com/fatangelpr/
T: www.twitter.com/fatangel_family
PR: Dan Carter dan@fatangel.co.uk

 

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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.

Pentre Fest 2019 Day Two – Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales – 23/02/2019

 

00 Pentrefest 2019 Final Line-Up Poster 3

Pentre Fest 2019 Day Two
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
23/02/2019
Review by Beth & Rick Tilley
Pictures by Beth Jones

…We arrived back at McLean’s Bar around Midday, fresh faced and ready for Day Two of Pentre Fest. To say there were a few faces looking slightly less fresh would be an understatement, but a good old ‘hair of the dog’ session was already ensuing for most! The weather was fine, everyone was smiling & chatting and we were thoroughly looking forward to another day of full on Metal, starting with a relatively new, local band, Navnlos.

Navnlos
Its always nice to see local acts perform at events like this, and Navnlos certainly kicked the day off in style, with there thrashy groove metal style executed really well. It certainly cleared the head of the already growing crowd, and was a great way to get people back in to the swing of things. They had catchy hooks to their songs, and you could move to them, and everything they played was executed really well. Our one qualm with their performance was the length of time between songs, spent in relative silence. It was too much and they lost all the energy that the song had just built up. Their stage craft will grow the more they gig but, apart from that, musically they are a talented bunch and we are both very much looking forward to see what they do!

01 Navnloshttps://www.facebook.com/Navnlosband/

Cheerfully Undiagnosed
Next, we went from the sublime to the cor blimey, with another new local band, who hadn’t played many gigs before. They were a kind of punk pop metal crossover, and their lead vocalist was certainly up for it, and had everyone joining in with some audience participation on the majority of their quirky, funny and bizarre set. They weren’t the best band that we were going to hear on the day, but they certainly weren’t the worst we had ever heard. With a bit more gelling time, and a bit more confidence as a band together, they could be good. I hope they carry on working on this because it was funny and light – hearted, but if it doesn’t work out, then frontman Adam (who reminded us of comedian Jack Whitehall) could probably do really well as a kid’s party host, after managing to command the hungover gathering here, and get them to sing random things with seeming ease!

02 Cheerfully Undiagnosedhttps://www.facebook.com/Cheerfully-Undiagnosed-1791893794227072/

Agent 47
I hadn’t heard these guys before, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but my ears pricked up when they started playing, as their style was instantly recognisable to me as the sound of the 90s! A Rage Against The Machine / Alice In Chains / Corrosion Of Conformity influenced sound that got me jigging along and took me back my formative years! They were really tight and very bloody good. Formed in 2011, and hailing from the Manchester scene, you could tell that they properly know what they are doing, and they deliver it with passion and style. For me they were one of my stand out bands of the weekend, not only because I love their sound, but because of how well rehearsed they were. A new one to add to my list of ‘must see again’ bands.

03 Agent 47https://www.facebook.com/Agent47UK/

Promethium
I saw these guys at Badgerfest last year, and was not as impressed with them as I thought I might be. I had wanted to see them again, and for Rick to see them too, to see if my first impression was founded, or if I was just a complete dick. The answer to that question was, ‘I’m a complete dick!’ Although, in my defence, I don’t think the sound issues at Badgerfest helped them last year, and thus the performance I saw then wasn’t their best, but I am so glad that I saw them again here, where the sound was superb, and I was able to make a more informed judgement about them. They are a super-talented product of Lancaster and well worth a watch. Lead vocalist Steve Graham has a great set of pipes on him, and the Rhythmic work of Kev Yates on drums and Ben Macfarlane on bass is spot on and If you top that with some crunchy, groove laden and intricate guitars then you have a recipe for awesome. Rick said they were one of his top bands of the weekend and that he actually preferred hearing them live rather than on album.

04 Promethiumhttps://www.facebook.com/Promethiumband/

Deified
Next up, and getting dangerously close to clashing with the most important game in the Rugby Calendar – Wales vs England in the Six Nations – were the Merseyside monsters, Deified! With as much punch as an angry gorilla on amphetamines with a score to settle, we LOVE these guys. We first saw them at the Christmas Mosh back in December, and were impressed then, but somehow, they were even better at this performance. Putting the OOO into groove metal, and the AAAaAAraragh into thrash, with an added spoonful of death metal vocals, they crushed our skulls continuously for their 45 minute set, and left us all wanting more. Fair play to these guys – they kept the crowd until the end of the set, and put everyone in a great mood!

05 Deifiedhttps://www.facebook.com/deified/

The next set was delayed, because of a small matter of one of the best Rugby games in recent years playing out on the big screen in the bar, and everybody, including the bands and the event organisers wanting to watch it! It was nail-biting, but Wales managed to overcome England! CYMRU AM BYTH!!!!!!! (Apologies to the English members amongst the merry gathering, but it was a damn fine game, and the best team won! We still love you though).

Frozen In Shadows
I was a bit like a child with a new toy when I found out Frozen In Shadows were playing at Pentre Fest – I couldn’t wait for Rick to see them after they totally destroyed my mind with their immenseness at Badgerfest last year. They were once again brilliant! They are excitingly heavy, and it makes every bone and sinew in your body vibrate with their power. For me they are the epitome of a super group. Incredibly talented musicians from other bands, coming together to do something magical that plays to each of their strengths. They are incredible to watch, with so much energy, passion and technique, that I am quite sure they will blow me away every time I see them. I don’t really think I need to say any more than that!

06 Frozen In Shadowshttps://www.facebook.com/frozeninshadows/

Ashen Crown
After seeing these guys as a full band at Amplified 2018, and seeing lead singer Kieran guesting with Mad Spanner on a number of occasions, we knew what these guys were about, and they lived up to their Amplified performance of last year, which was fab. They are super technical and tight, and Kieran’s growly death metal vocals punch you in the face like a street fighter on steroids! They are brutal as, and always fill the stage with energy. The local crowd love these guys, and it is easy to see why, when they deliver a belting performance every time, and this was no exception.

07 Ashen Crownhttps://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk/

Cadence Noir
Filling the main support slot were last years M2TM North Wales winners, and all-round lovely folk, Cadence Noir, bringing their unique ‘Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll’ to Deeside. I love these guys, and it is always a pleasure to watch them play, especially when they have a full quota of members, as they did tonight, with Nick on guitar making up the quintet. The thing that makes me love them is the way they blend heavy metal riffs, with folk melodies, and lamenting violin with crunchy distorted guitars. They put on a great show for everyone again here, whipping up the hall into good old jig! Speaking to frontman Ade after the show, he said that he was happy with the performance, and that it felt good – that was definitely transmitted to the room, because it sounded good too.

08 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

Sodomised Cadaver
So, to the headliners. We had watched these guys earlier in the day doing an ‘acoustic’ (lol) set on the acoustic stage, so knew they were going to be heavy and loud as fuuuuuuck! They were. Crazy energy, meets brain shattering vocals, meets speed drumming, meets everything turned up to eleven, with a side helping of so much hair it would make bald men weep! I seriously thought that my skin might disintegrate, and needed to go hunting for my ear drums, which I could only assume had ended up somewhere in the car park! Whilst musically these guys aren’t really me cup of tea, tipping the scales into the realms of too heavy, they are very adept at their style and they are also endearing chaps who all have a great sense of humour. Good to watch, and if you like to feel like your whole body has been in an industrial tumble dryer, then you definitely need to look them up.

09 Sodomized Cadaverhttps://www.facebook.com/SodomizedCadaver/

Acoustic Stage
One thing that we have touched upon throughout this, but not gone into detail about was the Acoustic Stage, run over both days, by the one and only Edd Case, a stalwart of the local scene, with an immense passion not just for music, but for supporting underground, unsigned and local talent. His acoustic stage showcased a number of local acts: Neill Murphy, Captain Andy, The Hairy Bitches, and Zanda Stone, along with acoustic sets from Adam Robinson of Cheerfully Undiagnosed, Ade and Emma from Cadence Noir who pulled off an immense cover of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’, and a full on acoustic set, complete with a bin lid bass drum, from Sodomized Cadaver, which is possibly the funniest acoustic set I have ever seen. Edd himself also did a few turns on the stage, closing the proceedings by doing his final set with his pants round his ankles! Clearly one of those, ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ moments, as it was a little chilly! It was a brilliant side attraction to the main event, and a great place to chill out and have a right old giggle between bands. I definitely would like to see this return next year.

10 Edd Case - Acoustic Stage
One other thing that I need to mention, before I stop waxing lyrical about what a brilliant weekend we had, was the sound quality. For every single band, throughout the weekend, on both the main and acoustic stages, the sound was completely faultless. With the diverse line-up, this was no mean feat, and a special mention needs to be given to LA1 Audio’s Edward Davies who absolutely stepped up to the plate and worked like a Trojan all weekend. A special thank you must also be given to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, for putting on yet another brilliant show in their tireless pursuit of bringing Metal back to North Wales. They both do a sterling job, and the local scene owes a lot to their dedication – thanks again guys. Bring on next year – HELL YEAH!!!
Links
https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Tilley and Beth Jones 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.

All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/