My first review of 2021 and what a way to start the year with the quite astonishing debut album Homecoming from Merseyside based Ashen Reach. Currently available via all digtal outlets, for such a young band these 11 songs show early maturity in their songwriting.
Opener ‘Fighting For My Life’ has a brutal main riff pinned down by sturdy drum patterns and the power is turned up when the lead vocals from Kyle Martyn Stanley ease in and briefly steal the spotlight as some mighty “Whoa oh oh’s” give them some competition, as does a dazzling guitar solo from Paddy Cummins.
No pause for breath as a big fat riff pounces in for the kill to ‘Epiphany’. Subtler melodic lines weave in and around an angelic vocal as the choruses enchant with their emotion. Once again a guitar solo comes out of nowhere as the song ends on snappy snare work from Jess Stanley.
Heart melting intro vocals delivered with a laid back drawl reach to stratospheric heights in ‘Tear It Down’ over a musical tour de force that does tear it down!
‘Heir To The Throne’ is a bass guitar heavy slow burner from Mike McCarroll that doesn’t get out of first gear as it chugs along backed by snarled verses and lung busting choruses as menace is added by a claustrophobic midsection.
‘Alive Again’ is as near a perfect song as they get. Following a gentle intro the band lock in for an all bases covered musical meltdown that’s pinned down by a cathartic vocal and I had this on repeat play a few times before moving on.
‘Prey’ is a skin shivering epic tackling the subject of stalking. Kyle throws himself into the mind of the stalker with a truly disturbing performance. The song creeps along in the vein of ‘Faith Healer’ by SAHB and the phone call piece midway is horrific, as is the mantra of “If I can’t have her, nobody can”.
‘Ether (Interlude)’ is a short but sweet slice of ambience to bring a sense of calm as ‘Here I Go’ has an uplifting vocal that sets the scene for the belligerent bombast that follows.
The Edge like guitar tones for ‘Hole In The Sky’ are the calm before the storm of the Will Haven like angular dynamics. Melodic choruses are belted out with passion as it goes deranged for a snare driven thrash out from the guitars of Paddy Cummins and Joe O’ Sullivan.
‘Broken Column’ is an adrenaline rushed pummel making it one of the heaviest tracks musically and vocally that gets more dramatic with the guitar crunch outro.
This killer album closes on the 9 minute epic ‘Homecoming’. It’s absolutely brain melting through headphones as it rises and falls on a sea of emotions. It eases in on gentle guitar lines until the first raucous riff kicks in as Kyle stretches out some long notes. The song is so captivating it does not seem so long and the final quarter is all air guitar heaven for one last final onslaught as a curveball comes from a hushed sublime outro. After all this clamour, the silence is deafening.
Homecoming album track listing :-
Fighting For My Life.
Tear It Down.
Heir To The Throne.
Here I Go.
Hole In The Sky.
Ashen Reach band line up :-
Kyle Martyn Stanley – Lead Vocals.
Paddy Cummins – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals.
Joe O’ Sullivan – Rhythm Guitar.
Mike McCarroll – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals.
Jess Stanley – Drums.
Band links :-