CD Title: Fragmental
Label: Independent Release (2015)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
This is the first official studio release from the band Ashby and it follows up on a 2013 EP release. When I was contacted by the band I have to admit I was fearful this would be yet another Progressive Metal, double-kick-drum female fronted group. I was more than a little pleased upon listening to their album. This quintet has a wonderful grasp of the many facets of the Progressive Rock genre and their female lead singer displays spectacular range, tone and style. Put it all together and this is stellar music. With just over an hour of music here, there are seven individual compositions four of which are ten-minutes or longer which still allows for plenty of long and involved instrumental segments along with many keyboard or guitar solos. Some comparisons might be made with a band like Haken.Ashby’s guitar work is capably crunchy in spots but it also shares equal time with great keyboard work tempering the overt aggression and instead creating some magical and majestic symphonic swells of music. Musical change-ups are the order of the day as their music is relatively complex in the arrangement department going from one thing to another but all linked together exceedingly smoothly. The musical transitions in some cases are quite breathtaking. Ashby came together in 2011 and has maintained a rigorous live schedule to put themselves in front of as many people as possible and it’s beginning to pay off. They’re getting well deserved great reviews from such notables as Eloy’s Frank Bornemann. I concur, Ashby is a band to watch, their sound is fresh and exciting and I highly recommend fans of powerful, symphonic prog to check them out.