Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

June 9, 2012

Ash The Sky ~ Ash The Sky (aka debut) (EP)

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Style: death metal, thrash, British
Label: self-released
Year: 2012
Home: United Kingdom

Members: Michael J Felder ~ guitars/vocals
Chris Morgan ~ bass/drum programming

Hailing original from San Diego, guitarist Michael Felder built up a reputation with a handful of metal bands, particularly RDK, getting the chance to open for Death, Testament, Korn, Metallica, Exodus, Slaughter, Quiet Riot with the late Kevin DuBrow, Vince Neal, amongst others. But, recordings were few & struggled under the old story of limited funds & poor facilities, if not just lack of experience. While major name recognition regularly retreated back into the dream world. Relocating to Britain to start a new life & a family Felder now comes out of his self-imposed seclusion with his new outing ATS. Essentially a one man gig ATS features bassist/keyboard drum programmer Chris Morgan on their debut EP.Tired of dealing with unstable band line-ups Felder decided to now handle the vocal duties himself, alongside composing & churning out the riffs on his seven string guitar. Perhaps to Felder's surprise, the first thing I notice on his new musical black metal meets thrash journey is the lyrics ... which for such a thrashy onslaught are often the last thing I care about or can understand between the growls. Felder growls in "Let Freedom Ring": "I can't believe the lies/I can't believe my eyes ... let freedom ring." There's a socially conscious attitude that pulls the music up from just being generic thrash metal. I'm reminded of the similiar sounding California outfit the Militants with vocalist Charlie Z who also aim for strong meaning over good rhymes &, like Felder, growls just enough to sound painful but not make it indecipherable. Not understanding what's being said is a great way for this reviewer to move on down he road.Though he might be alone Felder layers out the guitars making ATS sound like a full band. "No Mercy" goes for a more traditional Slayer approach with a more vibrant arrangement & the venom given an extra drip into the bitewound. While the simply named "Conflict" continues the social theme with some great distorted vocals at the beginning over a hypnotic guitar charge. Albeit, three songs just begin to scratch the surface of what a musician can do. I'd be interested in hearing Felder carry out his creativity in new directions in a full-blown release.

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