Band: Ashen Crown
Release Date: 1st November, 2019
Label: Self Released
Review by John
It is said that good things come to those who wait. Well, the wait for the debut album from Midlands metallers Ashen Crown seems to have gone on forever, with over two years having passed since they laid waste to the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock.
Luckily, the wait has been worth it.
‘Obsolescence’ is a brutal lesson in how to construct a near flawless album of hard hitting Death Metal that pulls no punches as it viciously assaults the unwary listener.
The haunting intro to ‘Unbroken Faith’ eases you in gently with its almost funereal pace, offering a touch of Doom Metal to get things underway. When the razor sharp vocals of frontman Keiran Scott kick in, it lights the blue touchpaper on something very special indeed as it thunders along with twists and turns, with some nice solos and a large slice of groove.
And then, as the bells toll at the end of the track, all hell breaks loose as Ashen Crown unleash the brutality.
‘Crimson Sea’ comes at you like a battering ram, and, after the almost sedate pace of the opener, the band drag you down into the blisteringly heavy depths of hell, with an unrelenting assualt on the senses, before pulling the rug from under you mid track as they slow things down slightly to give you a chance to catch your breath for a brief moment.
And this carries through across the remaining 6 tracks on the album, as they build on the sound that has been honed to almost perfect levels over the last few years of gigging.
‘Ultimatum’ hammers along like the bastard son of Arise era Sepultura, while ‘Right To Rise’ takes its time to build up the intensity before pulling the trigger.
‘Guilty of Hatred’ takes no prisoners as it hammers straight into your frontal lobe, before ‘Blood Beneath Us’ sees Scott’s venom slathered vocals accompanied by the operatic tones of Francesca, who provides a beautiful, almost breathtaking balance to things, as we are treated to a symphony of pure, filthy metal. A bold move, but one that helps ‘Blood Beneath Us’ shine as one of the stand outs on an album of sheer quality.
The album edges towards its conclusion with the short but sweet and epically heavy ‘Fall Of Thine Eyes’ giving way to the ethereal intro to album closer ‘Under The Leaves’. Taking all the time it needs to build to the operatic finale, it is another shining gem, and sees things end on an almost perfect high.
It may have been a long time coming, but ‘Obsolescence’ is everything you could hope for and then some.
In a year with several stand out releases, Ashen Crown have come along, raised the bar and cleared it with ease. Picking an album of the year for 2019 was always going to be hard. ‘Obsolescence’ just set out its stall and made the choice a whole lot harder.
10 out of 10
1. Unbroken Faith
2. Crimson Sea
4. Right To Rise
5. Guilty Of Hatred
6. Blood Beneath Us
7. Fall Of Thine Eyes
8. Under The Leaves