The Ash “The Ash”

I like to make it well known how much I love classic metal. Artists like Judas Priest and Ronnie James Dio hold high places in my heart for the music they’ve made and how it has inspired me since I was a kid, so I have to appreciate when bands like The Ash try their best to bring back that classic metal sound.

The problem is: I’m not sure what the interest is for neo-classic metal bands in Austria (the bands home country, and yes I kind of took the liberty in creating “neo-classic metal”) but in North America, the interest is slim. While there are many here who embrace classic metal songs such as I do, there doesn’t seem to be as much interest in newer bands with a classic metal sound, especially when most of those bands fall in to obscurity here. I mean bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden can still play amphitheatres here but bands that were once enormous internationally, such as Motörhead and Yngwie Malmsteen seldom play North America, and when they do the clubs are reasonably smaller. This is a shame, to say the least.

The Ash, and their recently released self-titled album, show good production and spurts of good music writing. The opening track Burn starts things off on a good heavy melodic note. It’s nothing original but it gets the point across. It’s the second track Crazy that is the first really good song on the album. It still lacks complete originality but it is much catchier and does a much better job at staying in your head. It’s the kind of song that when someone says the word “crazy” you can start singing the chorus in your head. Then things intensify a bit more with Something That We Share, which has a guitar riff that just comes right at you.

The band tries to get a message across with Global Peace, by the song title I’ll give you one guess what the message is, but in their concentration of that message, the band forgot to add a punch to the music of the song. When I hear this song I can’t help but think of it as a filler track. Same thing can be said about Mr. Gino, heard later on the album, which is a song that no matter how much I listen to it, I can’t help but think of it as a filler track.

I always have a soft spot for ballads. For many bands out there, my favourite song by them is a ballad. It’s hard to make a ballad original anymore, especially when a band such as The Ash place on in the middle of an album of heavy metal songs, but it doesn’t change the fact that I thoroughly enjoy their ballad Waiting for the Morning. It’s not original, it’s not ground breaking, it doesn’t change the way power ballads should be played. But it doesn’t sound half-assed musically (lyrically maybe a little) and it sounds like true emotion was put in to the playing of the song.

It’s the middle of the album where I believe the bands best stuff lies, this includes Waiting for the Morning, and is followed by Angel Dying (Petroperdika) and Try; two of the best songs on the album, and both are fairly different from the other. The former is a slow dark and doomy song while the latter brings back a pace similar to the opening tracks for the album just with the best chorus on the album. The rest of the song does not compare to the chorus, which is unfortunate, but the chorus, and even the pre-chorus, practically steal the show from the rest of the album. Love Me, the last of the standout tracks found in the middle of the album, is the fastest song on the album, kind of reminiscent of glam metal thanks to its sexual theme and somewhat sleazy rhythm and riffs. I enjoy this track, despite its predictability.

In Your Hands is an attempt by the band to make a long epic. At six-and-a-half minutes it’s the longest song on the album and it doesn’t fail to lost listeners attention, as any good long song should. I have to mention how well written I believe the music to the song is. This is followed by a piano instrumental called An Old Tale, which brings perspective (and cliché) to the album before rocking again with Change Your Mind.

The album ends with Back on the Road, a complete balls out display of fast riffs, hard drums and not so special lyrics. I don’t find the song does as effective of a job as it could have closing the album. It has the correct criteria; moments of double bass drum power, fast chugging riffs and it’s loud, very loud, but it just sounds like the band is trying way too hard and coming out short.

Lead vocalist Andy Somogyi reminds me of (obscure classic metal band) Vandenberg vocalist Bert Heerink throughout the album and guitarist Pat Berger reminds me of Dio guitarist Graig Goldy, which helps my vision of this band being something big in the 80s. However I don’t know of their place in North America. I can’t speak for their potential internationally, though, as I’m aware a lot of countries in Europe still embrace classic heavy metal with open arms.

In the end, we have an album that isn’t groundbreaking; most of the lyrics throughout are rather elementary and this is a big deciding factor to which I believe a bands success lies. However, the music, while not completely original, is for the most part completely sonic and holds true spirit as to what classic metal should sound like, which helps my opinion of the album and keeps my hopes up for the potential The Ash have in their future recordings.

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT

Angel Dying (Petroperdika)” –­ This is where I think the bands true sound lies. It may be among the slowest songs on the album, and I typically pick a more broad sound as the highlight to my reviews, but of all songs on the album, I feel the upmost effort and display of the bands writing and playing is presented in the song.

 

FINAL RATING

7 (Out of 10)

 

Track List:

1 Burn The Ash 4:37
2 Crazy The Ash 4:49
3 Something That We Share The Ash 5:18
4 ExplicitGlobal Peace The Ash 4:54
5 Waiting for the Morning The Ash 5:44
6 Angel Dying (Petroperdika) The Ash 4:55
7 Try The Ash 5:18
8 Love Me The Ash 3:31
9 Mr. Gino The Ash 4:46
10 In Your Hands The Ash 6:32
11 An Old Tale The Ash 2:35
12 Change Your Mind The Ash 5:06
13 Back On the Road The Ash 4:47
14 Petroperdika (Bonus Track) [Greek Version] The Ash 4:56

 

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