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Ashent - Flaws Of Elation (Reissue)

Ashent
Flaws Of Elation (Reissue)
by Salvador Aguinaga II at 15 April 2013, 5:41 PM

This is a very special review. ASHENT is the first band I reviewed and responsible for landing me a position to be writing for Metal Temple. It’s only been seven months since ASHENT’s latest magnum opus, “Inheritance”, and now they are back to re-issue their 2006 debut, “Flaws of Elation” including their 2003 self-titled four track demo. Four of the current members are out of the picture in this release. What I loved about the reissue is now I have a grasp of all three vocalists throughout their career. A great disparity in a young band that has survived a decade and it’s safe to say they’ve been growing through their evolution.

Steve Braun has been with ASHENT for the longest as far as lead vocal duties go. Of course he is now an ex- member but “Flaws of Elation” marks as his debut and as so for the rest of the crew. In my humble opinion, Steve Braun, is ASHENT’s worst vocalist. All four tracks from the 2003 demo are re-recorded for the debut and for Braun it’s the beginning of his lack of originality and style. You cannot imitate Max Zhena’s legacy he left with the 2003 demo. Looking at my notes, Braun, sinks in the fallacy of trying to follow in James LaBrie’s footsteps (see “Awakened’s Transitions”). Braun is a decent vocalist, not trying to ruin his reputation, but standing beside the likes of Zhena and Titta Tani (ASHENT’s current vocalist) he easily ranks as the third best. Let’s rewind and go back to the beginning. The self-titled track begins the album on the right foot by having a well-furnished ambient thirty second piece with whispers to engage the listener. From there “Mhysteric” lets us dip our toes and test the crystalloid water. The keyboard takes the impression of the latter description, it really captures the artwork completely redecorated by the fabled, Mario Sanchez Nevado. It is an easy-going song. There’s a nice contrast between Braun’s cleans and Gianpaolo Falanga’s growls in addition his bass interlude sets the mood as the song progresses.

The artwork is close enough when at times I thought the album transitioned like a forest. Full of wildlife and unknown territory trajectories. For example “Awakened’s Transitions” sounded sloppy and had an unfit guitar rhythm that was too opaque in comparison with the rest of the musicians. However, it left with a good note as the song exited in a beautiful manner. The touch of subtle piano discovery accompanied by acoustics and a buzzing warm-felt bass. “Silent Remedy” continues where “Awakened’s Transitions” left off. An intro that revisits the same lusciousness as the aforementioned. When the tempo changes, the keys are almost mystical and the riffs take its most spirited display yet. However, it started to get mucky as the keys went into a solo. As the song ends, it precedes and adapts well to the previously mentioned. Again, piano and acoustics glide along but the bass this time is more assertive with synths carefully and beautifully lying in the background.

“Fallen Angel” is a precursor of the sound they would master on “Inheritance”. This is truly where their experiences have taught them well and shaped into their own signature sound. They know how to apply ambience and it comes natural to them just as the calming waters and the far away mountains in high altitudes. This song also had my favorite executed solo; it had a slow transition in its middle-ground and had a nice crunch to it. “Anaemic Ardency” through “Eden” is where you get bitten by a poisonous snake and you start hallucinating as you wobble and tread the thickened jungle. Only to have a rescue team save your life a few seconds before you became one with the earth and wiped away like dust particles in the wind. That’s the best description I can give, some parts are good but most of the time it’s a mish-mash of different elements that you wonder if the things before you are surreal.

I enjoyed the 2003 demo tracks more than “Flaws of Elation”. Three main reasons; production, bass audibility, and Max Zhena. The bass is a lot clearer and easier to discriminate on the demo. Gianpaolo Falanga isn’t inaudible on the main album itself but he’s the least favored production-wise and on the demo everything is on equal planes. Since I can discriminate the bass without any trouble of course it gets more thumbs up. Besides we all know how important the bass’s role is in Progressive Metal. The music on the demo sounds a lot faster, something you’d expect from a late 90s jazz-fusion album. Finally, Max Zhena. I think he’s my favorite ASHENT vocalist. Get a load of his vocals on the 2003 demo version of “Awakened’s Transitions”, a huge wow factor and by far this band’s most unique vocalist.

Ironically, this album is full of flaws. However, you have to remember this is their debut. They have grown within their years and have made themselves more proficient. 

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Flaws of Elation
2. Mhysteric
3. Awakened’s Transitions
4. Fallen Angel
5. Illusory
6. Silent Remedy
7. Anaemic Ardency
8. Persistence of Frailty
9. A Puzzled Sentiment
10. Eden
11. Awakened’s Transitions (demo 2003)
12. Fallen Angel (demo 2003)
13. Anaemic Ardency (demo 2003)
14. Eden (demo 2003)
Lineup:
Flaws of Elation”-era

Steve Braun - Vocals
Paolo Torresani - Keyboards
Onofrio Falanga - Guitars
Gianpaolo Falanga - Bass
Davide Buso - Drums
Cristiano Bergamo - Guitars

Demo 2003

Gianpaolo Falanga - Bass, Vocals (growl)
Onofrio Falanga - Guitars
JC - Drums
Thomas Giro - Guitars
Max Zhena - Vocals
Record Label: Lion Music
     


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