Album Review: Ash Return – The Sharp Blade Of Integrity (Swell Creek Records)
After the sudden end of HC legend MIOZÄN, it become obvious very quickly for 4/5 of the band members: giving up was not an option, but to continue under the same name wasn’t even up for debate. Although the main influence was to remain in the classic hardcore style of the late 80s, the new sound would be combined with classic metal influences àla Iron Maiden.
As luck would have it, Tank, Kniffel, Gerrit and Outso quickly found Johnny from true metalheads Gloryful, the right man for the job at the mic, invent their own brand new genre “Swordcore”, and are now ready to escape the ashes, rising like a phoenix as Ash Return.
Ash Return will release their new album ‘The Sharp Blade Of Integrity’ on 1st May via Swell Creek Records (CD + digital) and Dedication Records (Vinyl).
With riffs rooted in classic metal and vocals/percussion rooted in classic hardcore, the combination that Ash Return offer here is certainly something to grab the attention. Reckless and heavy, One is as much a head-banger as it is a pit-opener.
Following that, the drums roll hard and the riffs snap like an angry beast on Drown in Tears, the breakdown that comes in the latter part is class. Delete is a forceful blast of heavy metal with Ash Return’s excellent mix of throaty vocals and gang shouts. Before Time is the Enemy really shows those classic metal influences and Onwards puts a big smile on the face with its hardcore pace.
The first half has Ash Return clearly laying out just what they are and what they can do. The unification of metal and hardcore proving to be pretty damn great.
Mouth of Blight keeps things sounding strong with its snarling angry shouts and F.T.W. once again delivers a riff-tastic head-banger. Both tracks showcasing the wild difference between styles but also how well they can marry together when a capable band is in charge.
So good is this album that it flies by in an absolute blur. You’ll find yourself getting more and more into it and then it ends so you’ll just hit play again and again. There isn’t a drop in quality with the latter’s catchy Burning Heart with its heavy shift in tone, Nothing Left to Lose and its no-nonsense heavy as balls riffing and Don’t Fear the Flame’s extra dark depth being top drawer stuff.
All great albums must end sadly and Ash Return wrap up The Sharp Blade of Integrity with one final heavy push towards glory with Rest In Peace.
Ash Return – The Sharp Blade of Integrity Full Track Listing:
2. Drown In Tears
4. Time Is The Enemy
6. Mouth Of Blight
8. Burning Heart
9. Nothing Left To Lose
10. Don’t Fear The Flame
11. Rest In Peace
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Ash Return - The Sharp Blade Of Integrity (Swell Creek Records)
The Final Score - 9/10