Ash And Elm - Visions From The Past
Power / Thrash Metal
7 songs (34'17)
Release year: 2003
Ash And Elm
Reviewed by Marty
Ash And Elm is a New Jersey (U.S.A.) based band that plays a more traditional power/thrash metal style that shows a surprising maturity and style given that the average age of the members is only between 18 and 19 years old. The band was founded by lead vocalist, guitarist Akiro Shishido and their biography lists among their favorite bands, such great metal acts as Children Of Bodom, In Flames, Blind Guardian, Symphony X, Shadows Fall and Arch Enemy.

Ash And Elm have more of a European sound and with the slightly accented vocal style of Akiro Shishido, I really was surprised to find out that they are in fact American. Their music is heavy with lots of great riffs, tons of double bass flurries and the melancholic style of Akiro's singing combined with the celtic influenced harmony third guitar riffs really gives them a sound that is similar to the first 2 Falconer albums (with original vocalist Mattias Blad). Iced Earth style riffing, Iron Maiden style guitar harmonies and galloping rhythms and an obvious influence from the classic 80's thrash metal scene from the U.S. shows that this band really knows the history of classic heavy metal, most of which was created before many of the guys from this band were even born. The occasional use of death metal styled vocals gives their sound more of an edge but they are far from being a death metal band.

Highlights of this release include the title track, Visions From The Past which uses a chugging and heavy riffs mixed with faster thrash metal riffs with the classic speedy snare reminiscent of 80's era Slayer. Lots of tempo changes (some very abrupt), an overall "reckless abandon" type of sound and a vocal style that reminds me of the first couple of Blind Guardian albums results in a solid track. Vlad, an ode to the notorious historical figure Vlad The Impaler is a more mid tempo riff fest again with a Falconer style vocal approach and the abundant use of harmony thirds create a great atmosphere.

A musically exciting and heavy band, Ash And Elm draws influence from several heavyweights of heavy metal history and the riffing and sudden tempo changes make for some great music. Akiro Shishido has a solid voice but I can't help but think that if he'd sing with more passion, emotion and even anger, that this band's music would be even better. This demo album has a pretty decent production even for a self-financed effort and fans of classic thrash metal and especially Falconer fans should like this band. A fine effort from a young band and with continued growth as musicians and songwriters, everything will fall into place. Nice job guys....keep up the good work and I'll certainly be watching the progress of their career.

Killing Songs :
Visions From The Past and Vlad
Marty quoted 70 / 100
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