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Ash Return - The Sharp Blade of Integrity Award winner

Ash Return
The Sharp Blade of Integrity
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 18 June 2020, 4:43 AM

In the past, Hardcore and Metal met, and many musical genres arose from such a meeting. Obviously, there are many ways that are eroded, and in others there are possibilities to be explored. But it’s truly impressive as the German quintet ASH RETURN can shock the ears with a massive and great form of music as is shown on “The Sharp Blade of Integrity”.

It’s a blend between Metal and Hardcore, a hybrid that has elements from both genres at the same time. It’s aggressive and nasty as old Hardcore bands, but with that amazing melodic hooks of Metal, charming choruses, and permeated by a shocking grasping energy. Yes, it’s really a great form of music that will delight Greeks and Trojans at the same time. It’s not a sin to think of them as DISCHARGE with a Metal vocalist (in the end of all, the singer of ASH RETURN is Johnny, from GLORYFUL). Be prepared to become a fan, because it’s impossible to resist! “The Sharp Blade of Integrity” has an excellent sonority, produced by the band’s members, and with the hands of Jörg Uken (who worked on the recording sessions) and Dan Swanö (mixing and mastering). The result is a clean and defined sound quality, but bearing the essential dose of aggressiveness and weight that the band’s musical work needs, and it’s modern as well.

Nasty, furious and aggressive, all the songs are really fine pieces of good music. And the fun is guaranteed by “One” (great guitar riffs, backing vocals, and the presence of double bass on drums is amazing), “Drown in Tears” (the Hardcore adrenaline pulses on the guitars, but the solid basis created by bass guitar and drums is great), “Delete” (this is a true Metal song, but with some nasty traces of Hardcore, and a great presence of vocals), “Onwards” (what massive energy), “F.T.W.” (if NWOBHM was drowned a bit more on Punk/Hardcore energy, this is how IRON MAIDEN would sound, for sure, and what lovely guitars), “Nothing to Lose” (40% Metal, 60% Hardcore, with a furious set of melodies), and “Rest in Peace” (a fast and furious song, that incites the stage dive and slamdancing easily). It’s just for a first time on “The Sharp Blade of Integrity”, because on the second, you’ll be giving a fuck off to this COVID-19 pandemic and run for a physical copy of it at any cost!

ASH RETURN deserves applause for such excellent album. And the almost 40 minutes of “The Sharp Blade of Integrity” deserves to be heard at the loudest!

Musicianship: 10
Songwriting: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. One
2. Drown in Tears
3. Delete
4. Time is the Enemy
5. Onwards
6. Mouth of Blight
7. F.T.W.
8. Burning Heart
9. Nothing to Lose
10. Don’t Fear the Flame
11. Rest in Peace
Johnny - Vocals
Kniffel - Guitar
Outso - Guitar
Tank - Bass
Gerrit - Drums
Record Label: Swell Creek Records


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