ASHENT – Inheritance (2012)
Italian Progressive Metal act ASHENT was founded ten years ago by guitar player Onofrio Falanga, and now is presenting their third release “Inheritance”.
This being a milestone for any band, it also sees Ashent returning with several line-up changes.
After their last album in 2009, Falanga announced three new members would be filling in: Titta Tani (Goblin, Daemonia, Phoenix Rising) on lead vocals, Gilles Boscolo on keyboards and Alessandro Cossu on second guitar.
And so, with changes like these, it comes as no surprise that the band is redefining themselves a bit.
“Inheritance” finds Ashent taking a very unique stance on Progressive Metal, melding together various styles and sounds to create a somewhat unusual blend.
Along with what might be considered the ‘typical’ combination of the genre with heavy guitars and synths, Ashent mixes in some mellotron, Hammond and saxophone. This gives their sound an almost Neo Prog take on Progressive Metal.
And dynamically, the group swings between more atmospheric and mellow sections to some louder, chaotic blends. Ashent has a way of using chord progressions where they fill every chord out to the point of almost bursting, adding dissonant tones to the more conventional structures.
This is not only achieved with the instrumentation often combining atmospheric keyboards and strong rhythmic guitars, but also with some very full harmonies in the vocals.
Sometimes, however, this attempt at invention and complexity blows back on them.
Songs like “Eve”, “Shipwrecked Affair” and “Spider’s Nest” are really interesting, but so thick that it sounds like there are several songs overlapping one another in the same arrangement.
Conversely, “La Danzatrice Scalza” has the complete opposite feeling. It’s nearly perfect Prog, interestingly, but not severely, technical, and simply delightful to the ears.
Actually, Ashent seems to better when they’re not trying to fill a song with a trick in their bag. “Renaissance” and the closing instrumental “Labyrinthique” are entertaining in their lack of complexity.
If you read this blog assiduously, you must remember Phoenix Rising’s debut posted some months ago; a Melodic Rock / AOR project by Titta Tani, the same singer and arranger here.
So expect more melodious vocalisations in “Inheritance” than the usual in Prog Metal bands. Indeed, Ashent is more Prog than Metal.
Tani is a quite versatile vocalist adapting his vocal intonation to the needs of the songs (which are relatively short) over the technical, sometimes complex music which, as said, includes synths sounds, some sax inserts, orchestral parts and choirs apart from the guitars.
Add to this a very fluid rhythm section, and the music can at times be a little overwhelming. And Ashent deploys many different textures throughout the album, making for a very explorative experience.
All these elements combined also gives them a sound that has a very new, crisp and modern feel to it.
“Inheritance” is definitely an album that breaks the mold.
Different and interesting.
01 – Eve
02 – Magnification of a Daydream
03 – Shipwrecked Affair
04 – Fractural
05 – Spider’s Nest
06 – Renaissance
07 – The Starving Litany
08 – Confessions of Reimman
09 – La Danzatrice Scalza
10 – The Defiant Boundary
11 – Labyrinthique
Titta Tani – vocals
Onofrio Falanga – guitars, backing vocals
Alessandro Cossu – guitars
Gianpaolo Falanga – bass
Gilles Boscolo – keyboards, programming, sax
Davide Buso – drums, percussions
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