Ashent Italy

B6 Prog6
Links:PA
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Review by Time_Signature published
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S Prog Metal

Originally released in 2006, "Flaws of Elation" is going to be reissued this year on Lion Music with new artwork, as a sort of follow-up to 2012's "Inheritance". When I heard "Inheritance", I was puzzled at the classification of Ashent as a dark prog power metal band, seeing how melodic and, to be honest, not very dark that album is (but still a very good album).

Having listened to the reissue of "Flaws of Elation", I now understand the dark prog power metal label. One "Flaws of Elation", Ashent draw much more extensively on dark power metal, and their guitars a crunchy and the riffs heavy, yet challenging (there are even some elements from extreme metal every now and then). While not as experimental in terms of texture as "Inheritance" is, "Flaw of Elation" still feature some nice textures primarily provided by the keyboards.

Now, "Flaws of Elation" is at heart very melodic, and there are plenty of guitar melodies, and also some nice guitar harmonies which seem to build on the foundation laid by Fates Warning on "Perfect Symmetry". Sophisticated and complex, without descending into instrumental wankery at any point, the music on "Flaws of Elation" is definitely challenging, but still not inaccessible.

While I do not want to belittle "Inheritance", I think this is a much better album. It is more progressive and more aggressive. And then I must admit that I prefer Steve Braun's more pwoer metal-oriented vocals on this album to Titta Tana's crooning on "Inheritance". Braun's vocals are more acrobatic and, at times, remind me of a less busy Jon Arch.

The four bonus tracks on the 2013 reissue are pretty interesting. They are all taken from the bands 2003 demo and feature some more power metal oriented versions of songs that are also found on the "Flaws of Elation"-album. Also, they feature a Max Zhena on vocals, who has a very interesting voice.

"Flaws of Elation" is simply an outstanding and original piece of progressive power metal, and the prog metal-loving community should be thankful that Lion Music are going to reissue it.

(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)

Review by Time_Signature published
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S Prog Metal

For a band branded as a dark progressive metal band, Ashent's latest effort is incredibly melodic. That is of course not a bad thing, and "Inheritance" is definitely a massive effort which is artistically successful.

Striking is, first of all, the massive crunch of the guitars and how this suits both the melodic harmonies and rhythmic ambiguities that abound on this fine album. The music is technically advanced, to be sure, but comes across inviting and accessible. The drumming is organic an full of fills and, while not overtly show offy, definitely not stuff that is easy to pull off. The bass has a nice broad and round sound, at times taking an almost lead-like position, but always providing the glue that holds the many textures on this album together. On the lead side, both keyboard solos and guitar solos reflect technically skilled musicians who know how to perform leads that showcase their skills without stealing the stage from the rest of the instrumentation.

I do not know if this type of progressive metal appeals to everyone, but I would argue that Ashent's brand of progressive metal, at least on this album, is fairly original and deserves credit for that. Some of the choral arrangements remind me of Queen, while there are also elements that make me think of Yes, Mew, and Cynic. But, at all times Ashent sounds like Ashent, and their music is so rich in texture that it is easy to immerse oneself in - even if one is not a seasoned progressive metal fan.

Titta Tani's crooning vocals might be an acquired taste, but his singing style definitely adds to the originality of the music on the album. He shows that he is indeed able to belt out some face melters whenever needed and I must say that after some initial skepticism, his vocal style has won me over.

Fans of progressive metal who ar looking for something different, yet recognizable and who love metal that emphasizes melodic and texture, should give Ashent's "Inheritance" a listen.

(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)

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