Released by: Independent
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Melodic Power Metal
Sirens- Tommy Parnelle
Six string lightning- Sean Kane
Thunder- Nick Canada
Heavy Artillery- Nick Kane
Full disclosure, the current members of Avalon Steel are guys I consider great friends, and are a band that I have followed since its early days. Those facts aside I present to you their very first release, the EP Ascension. I intend to examine it from as objective a standpoint as I can, and look at it from the perspective of the music itself, and not by the men behind its creation.
The very first thing that struck me about the three tracks found on this EP was actually hearing them for the very first time without it being at a live show. Interpreting music live vs. studio is a decidedly different experience. Going in I already knew the songs, but upon closer inspection I realized that I really didn’t know them as well as I thought. In a live aspect (especially in regards to loud shows) you miss a lot of the nuanced stuff going on in the individual songs as well as things going on with each instrument. Let’s start from looking at it as a genre. Musically what Avalon Steel represent is an old school mentality of early American power metal, thrash, and NWOBHM leanings. So many bands come to mind as I listen to their songs (Cirith Ungol, Raven, Shok Paris, etc) yet they don’t sound precisely as any of those mentioned. Strong, driving riffs backed by a powerful rhythm section topped with a truly unique voice meld together to create good metal songs that longtime fans of old school metal will relish with every listen. The EP opens with “The Winter King” a straight forward homage to old school metal. It has already taken on a life of its own live within the fan base, and it’s clear why: it’s a damn catchy song. It’s followed by “Curse of the Doomwraiths” which stays on even ground with the previous song. There are some doom leanings, and of course the lyrical imagery nailed home by Tommy’s powerful voice get your head banging. I love how he goes from a low register into a great wail. The EP closes with “Trapped In A Nightmare” which is another great track. It’s closer to thrash than the other songs, though still fits perfectly with the other songs.
If there is one issue people will have with this EP is that it is very much an old school album. Very little of it would be considered new or cutting edge. That’s not a bad thing, but if you’re looking for something fresh, this isn’t it. However, it is a throwback sound to a style of metal not often represented, and for me that makes this such an awesome album. There are moments where you can certainly tell that the band are still getting a feel for their music and working out their abilities. Again, not a bad thing, but so many metal fans can be harsh towards young bands who may not be polished. Listening to Avalon Steel’s Ascension excites me much the same way I first got in to metal in the 80’s. It’s raw, yet holds so much potential, and is just the tip of the iceberg for what this band is capable of and will do in the future. Not to mention the fact that they are super great guys.
Written by Chris Martin