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Ascalon: Reflections
Ascalon Reflections CD Album Review

Ascalon: Reflections

(Traditional) Heavy Metal
4.5/5.0

Apparently, from a post found on their Facebook page, England's Ascalon does not necessarily want to be associated with the legendary and influential New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) tradition. They applauded one review for not mentioning "NWoBHM" once in its review of the band's full-length debut album Reflections. I find this curious because, on both their Facebook page and from label press materials, they cite Judas Priest, Saxon, and Angel Witch as influences. How NWoBHM is that? There, I've mentioned NWoBHM five times now. And just for fun and to poke the guys, maybe I'll do it some more.

Ascalon Reflections Band Photo

Ascalon

As for Ascalon's debut album, it's an eight song romp into the realm of classic heavy metal with five new songs in the front, and the last three from their previous 2015 three song demo. Ascalon's heavy metal style is self-evident and definitely rooted in the NWoBHM tradition: twin guitar harmonies and leads, a galloping rhythm section to tap the speed and power metal angle, and clean vocals, with the arrangements wrapped up in melody and groove.

Essentially, Ascalon's sound revolves around three things: bracing and sharp riffage, blazing solos, and speed. As for that latter point, most everything races along with two exceptions. One is the song Ascalon, which turns more on heaviness and moderate pacing. The other is the segue Outlaw's Hymn, featuring the tag team of acoustic and electric guitar in an instrumental, and it's some mighty fine guitar work at that. Some mention should be made of Matt Gerrard's voice, which has an assertive raspier and razor timbre. It fits the character of the riffage, but it is a bit of an acquired taste.

Nevertheless, for classic heavy metal in the best tradition, and drawing from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Ascalon and their debut album, Reflections, is spot on as a modern interpretation. If you like this legendary genre, and especially a significantly guitar-forward heavy metal sound, you will enjoy Ascalon. Recommended.

Ascalon - Red Leather


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The Bottom Line

For classic heavy metal in the best tradition, and drawing from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Ascalon and their debut album, Reflections, is spot on as a modern interpretation. If you like this legendary genre, and especially a significantly guitar-forward heavy metal sound, you will enjoy Ascalon. Recommended.

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