So, for a while this one kind of slipped under my radar and then Haxan announced a tour with support from Ashen Reach and White Raven Down. I listened to the album to get an idea of what to expect and really enjoyed it.
Roll on the gig and I hear the band live….. wow, everything I’d previously heard via Spotify was blown away.
Opening track Fighting For My life is it seems gentle but yet still has a heavy sound, a teasing introduction of what’s to come.
And then comes Epiphany…. The intro runs for 30 seconds before the drums kick in, that drumbeat is so catchy and so damn cool. This is one hell of a song, the punchy vocals are superb, the drumming awesome and the guitars blend in effortlessly to make this an anthemic and stunning song. Worth the price of the album alone.
Epiphany leads us into ‘Tear It Down’ with it’s subtle first verse that leads us into a build-up to the epic chorus, which begs to be heard live…. I can imagine this being sung by a crowd of 90,000 at Download. The vocals are simply on point and backed up by sublime guitars and drums. You want thumping drums, awesome guitars and vocals? Here you are.
Heir To The Throne has you tapping your feet instantly as the verse builds to the chorus which is so god damn catchy and begs to be sung along to. Everything about this song screams awesome from the wailing guitars through to the drums and great vocals. This is another great song.
A calming and slow guitar leads us into ‘Alive Again’ and then hell is unleashed upon us. A mixture of heavy guitar and drum laden verses followed by slower vocal led lyrics are just great. Everything on this song works so well together and the energy in the song is immense
Prey, a song about stalking….. The lead into kind of disguises what to expect being slow and subdued in a way. The sublime chugging and blending of both guitars and drums are great and the midway phone break, listen and you’ll see, well hear, takes nothing away from the momentum of the song. To be honest the vocals on this song are possibly the best on the album if only for the range delivered. A haunting and stunning song.
Ether(Interlude) is a gentle, somewhat calming midway point on the album offering an instrumental interlude, probably quite welcome after prey.
Another demonstration of the vocal range of Kyle is seen on ‘Here I Go’ as he delivers a softer sound in what is a much slower number then what we’ve heard on the album so far. Slower yes but there is some beautiful guitar work to be heard here.
Hole In The Sky has opening guitars that gently draw you in before suddenly everything kicks in. Following on from the theme since Ether this is another slower track. Weighing in at 6 minutes that effortlessly pass without seeming too long the guitars pull the song along in a wake of blurred plectrums.
And then the heavy is back with ‘Broken Column’. These guys have a distinctive sound and it’s evident here in another beautifully put together song. You want a range of vocals, you want slow and melodic, you want heavy, you want screaming….. it’s here. Simply sublime yet again.
And then the title track ‘Homecoming’ arrives. A nice slow and guitar infused intro leads us into the heavy guitars and thumping drums. The verses are slow, patient and then there’s the pre chorus that builds to the actual chorus. The difference in the delivery of the vocals is what makes this another great song. It’s an 8:56 epic but you won’t notice the time with the great vocals and screaming guitars. If Carslberg made album title tracks…..
Well, where to start. Buy it. I’ve heard some great albums in the last 6 months and this is definitely one of the best. The main wow factor for the album is the way the songs are put together, everything is just spot on. The vocals are brilliant and varying and the way the drums work with the guitars in some parts is spine tingling. I can image putting this album on in 5 years time and it still being as good as the beginning to Epiphany kicks in. The album sounds great on cd or Spotify but if you really want to get the best, most jaw dropping and smack round the face version of these songs, catch the band live.
So there can only be one conclusion for this album and it’s my 2nd ever 10/10. Ashen Reach take a bow.
Support Ashen Reach by visiting the link below where you can buy lots of nice things including albums, t-shirts and more…. go on….