Review By: SAMANTHA LOUGHLAN
Band members: Kyle Martyn Stanley (Vocals)
Paddy Cummins (Guitar)
Joe O’Sullivan (Guitars & Bass)
Jess Stanley (Drums)
Track list: Ghosts
Good day to you all! Seems the sunshine has finally made its way to Manchester. About bloody time!
So, we’ve been super busy this past weekend here at Voodooradio.online, sifting through a ton of up-and-coming bands. Over the next few weeks, I will be bringing you various interviews and reviews from the underworld of the alternative music scene.
Today I’ve had the pleasure of working with a band whose goal ‘above all is to be different. Extremely modern music, with all the heaviness that we love, combined with unrivalled accessibility, through prominent melodies and huge, memorable choruses.’ Oooo we love a memorable chorus!
So, Ashen Reach are a four-piece heavy metal band from Merseyside, UK. Now these guys were actually previously interviewed by our very own Cat Man Phil regarding their time at desTINAtion festival earlier this year, however I’m putting a different spin on things today. Not only will I be reviewing a couple of their tracks but we also have a cheeky little interview with some personal views direct from the band themselves.
I would like to personally thanks the band for being a true delight to work with, sending everything required to get this piece off the ground and also for their time in providing us with a kick-ass interview. Cheers Ashen Reach!
So, let’s dive in and see what Ashen Reach have in store for us…
The first song I am going to review is ‘Ghosts’. Released back on the 12th of May 2023 from the E.P The FEAR (11th August 2023), this extraordinary collaboration of hard-hitting lyrics and phenomenal riffs by Paddy Cummins, it really does hit the spot when it comes to entrancing metal songs. As soon as I hit ‘play’ on this track I instantly felt that Ashen Reach knew exactly what they were doing when they put this piece together. I always tend to highlight the length of the tracks I review as this is an important factor when you’re looking to air the song on radio or play in a club. At four minutes and six seconds in length this metal track is the perfect example of how much can be fitted into a short space of time and believe me when I say that these guys have nailed it! ‘Ghosts’ begins with a few seconds of breaking us into the track before smashing out exciting riffs and a head-bopping drum beat. It’s all about how much you can feel a record.
Now Ashen Reach Promised us catchy choruses, and that is just what they delivered!
‘I’m not the first,
Shadows crawl around these endless halls.
This is my tomb and I’m all but consumed.’
Absolutely captures the theme of the track and I love the imagery. Superb!
What I like most about ‘Ghosts’ is the clever use of silent breaks. This is a fairly difficult technique to pull off as you have to get the timing absolutely perfect to create the desired effect. Once again Ashen Reach have blown me away!
So, the second track I’m going to look at is ‘Neophobia’. The title of this track means ‘extreme or irrational fear or dislike of anything new or unfamiliar’. Pretty cool title if you ask me! This track contains stronger riffs and has a more ‘headbanging’ feel to the beginning of it. In comparison with ‘Ghost’, Kyle Martyn Stanley shows his ability to create a metal-type rap with this one. He really does have a vast vocal range. What strikes me in this track is the repetition of the line ‘Make it all burn’. This is where the audience can get really involved at gigs and feel the beats entirely creating a really captivating experience.
As far as the lyrics go ‘Neophobia’ really has got the wording bang to rights!
‘It’s over now, your time is up
Your rule is coming to an end
We’ll live our lives
No longer controlled by YOU.’
Really did get right into this track. As many of you may already know, I’m a metal-head at heart and have completely fell for this band. Definitely earnt a spot on my car playlist!
What more is there to say about Ashen Reach? A terrific display of sheer talent! Really excited to see where these guys go with their music next. A true joy to review.
Let’s hear what the band themselves have to say…
1. What genre of music do you feel you most relate to?
We feel we most relate to modern metal. We’re heavier than your usual rock or hard rock, but still accessible and incorporate other elements into our music such as electronic or orchestral parts.
2. Who are you’re musical influences?
Across all of our members, we love everything from Children of Bodom to Daft Punk, and a tonne in between! However, some bands that have directly influenced the music we write include but aren’t limited to; Rammstein, Alter Bridge, Killswitch Engage, Architects, I PREVAIL, Bad Omens and Sleep Token.
3. How hard is it to approach next level promoters?
I think word of mouth is still the most powerful tool of all. Getting in front of the right people at the right gig, and they go and tell their mate who runs ‘such and such fest’ and all of a sudden, you’re on next year’s bill. You just have to make your own luck by getting out there as much as possible, picking the right shows and being the best you can be.
4. What plans have you got for this year?
We’re currently in the midst of releasing our brand-new EP titled, “The Fear”. That’s what most of our year has been consumed with and what the rest of this year will be! Writing, recording and prep work!
5. Are you playing at any festivals?
We are headlining Station 18 Fest at Hangar 18 in Swansea on Sat 21st October. And we are also playing Winterstorm Festival in Troon, Scotland on Friday 24th November!
6. Which artists past or present would you collaborate with?
There are so many to choose from! Howard Jones (formerly from Killswitch Engage, now Light The Torch), Sam Carter (Architects), Vessel (Sleep Token), Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe (I PREVAIL), Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) and Noah Sebastian (Bad Omens) to name a few, but the list could go on and on!
7. Who would you compare yourselves to?
I don’t think we really sound like anyone to be honest! As mentioned, we definitely have our influences, but we’ve got a big enough melting pot to where we don’t sound like any one of them!
8. What has been your favourite performance given so far?
There’s a few that spring to mind, but I think the others will agree that our favourite performance so far has to be Steelhouse Festival. It was definitely a highlight of what we’ve done together.
9. What are you working on music wise right now?
Our EP, “THE FEAR”. It’s a concept EP about different fears people face, some more common and more literal than others, some a little more nuanced.
10. Where do you draw inspiration from for your lyrics?
I think with lyrics, there are many avenues you can go down. Relatable topics are always good, you want to make a connection with the listener and one of the best ways to do that is to write about things people can relate to. Be it depression, struggles, bonds, strong emotions, anything like that. Or you can write about interesting things that will capture their attention like murders and stalkers. It really depends on the song and what vibe the instrumentation gives off!
11. What was the best gig you’ve ever been to and why?
The best gig I’ve ever been to is probably too difficult to answer haha! One that springs to mind is I PREVAIL at the O2 Academy Liverpool in March this year. I’d had the tickets booked since before lockdown so it was a good 3 year wait and they did not disappoint. An absolute lesson in how to play a metal show. Zero bullsh*t, high energy, great crowd interaction, amazing sound, lights and atmosphere.
12. What do you love most about being in a band?
The thing I love most is when Kyle holds the mic out and people sing our lyrics back to us crazy loud. It’s an unrivalled feeling, knowing that things you’ve written down in your bedroom or rehearsal space resonate with people to the point where they’ve learnt the words by heart and sing them louder than you at shows. Unreal.
13. How do you deal with disinterested audiences?
We’ve been fortunate enough to have not come across one yet! But we’ll let you know how we get on if it ever happens haha!
14. What interests and hobbies do you have outside of music?
Kyle, Jess and myself play a lot of video games. That was certainly my whole life before being in bands and takes up most of my free time today. Joe does nothing but play guitar and if he’s not playing guitar, he’s thinking about playing guitar haha!
15. Have you got any exclusive gossip you can share with voodooradio.online?
Not really at the moment, we do love a bit of gossip though so if you guys have any, we’d love the scoop!
16. Would you consider allowing voodooradio.online to play your tracks and promote any future gigs?
Of course. We massively appreciate anyone willing to share our music with others and spread the word of Ashen Reach!