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Ascalon – Reflections Award winner

by Anamaria Carla Ionita at 19 March 2017, 11:37 PM

ASCALON is a heavy metal (with a few speed metal influences) from Lancashire, United Kingdom, "Reflections" being their first official EP.  
The band's sound really has that British heavy metal "thing" to it, as it instantly got me thinking of a young IRON MAIDEN when I first played the album. Of course, differences are more than visible, from the vocal's tone of voice to overall style, but it does have a British vibe going on, something from a long lost past. Don't get me wrong, I consider that a very good thing, and I would like to hear more bands keeping it as this: nice and clean, melodic, and highly, highly enjoyable. 
The guitarists and the drummers are doing an awesome job, it sounds really catchy, but there was one thing that got me a bit disappointed regarding the album: on all sounds, it seems like whoever mixed it has chosen to go a bit too much on the highs, leaving too little mid-range and too little actual bass to the sound, and that also tends to cancel out Matt Gerrard's voice. I cannot say that he is a great vocal, his range seems either limited, or used mainly on the same pitch/octave, but he sings it well and makes up with technique, and yet… he is lot lower in volume compared to the guitars and the drums; same goes for Alex Varley, the bass player: I have had difficulties, had to crank up the volume of my headphones to the max to figure out where his instrument was in the background.

Nonetheless, the sound is quite good, and for oldschool metalheads, it will be a treat to enjoy listening to this EP. Taking note on the fact that this is their first media, it sounds more than great overall; many bands with pedigree and experience have had, in time, albums that did not sound as a whole as good as this one - big up right there, as far as I'm concerned.

Reflections started off with the song, which I personally like the most: "Speed Daze". The name describes it perfectly; the guitars are going at it at high speed, creating an overall very melodic and catchy song. I'll save this one in my personal playlist. Another notable song would have to be "Outlaw's Hymn". It has a completely different approach, going for an instrumental that blends an acoustic guitar with an electrical one. Basically a mixture of acoustic rhythm combined with a slow but close-to-perfect distort solo to soothe the soul - or to prepare it for the speed and power of "The Enforcer". You've got to run, run, run, there's no where out; your time has come!

For a band releasing their first official EP, I am impressed. Sounds more than good, and many songs have that unexplainable "thing" to make them catchy. Or maybe it's because I grew up with similar sounding bands, but hey, no matter what, I like it.
If the next media ASCALON releases will keep this sound and style, but improve on the mastering, it would have a great chance at a clean 10/10.

Songwriting:  9

Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production - 7

4 Star Rating

1. Speed Daze
2. Reflections
3. Red Leather
4. Outlaw's Hymn - instrumental
5. The Enforcer
6. Steel Nights
7. Ascalon
8. Vigilante 
Alex Varley - Bass
Vince Scott - Drums
Chris Marsh - Guitars
Matt Gerrard - Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: No Remorse Records


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Edited 05 February 2023

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