ASHEN REIGN — An Angels Burden (review)

ASHEN REIGN — An Angels Burden album cover Album · 2011 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
An Angels Burden is the second release from US one man band Ashen Reign, following on from the 2008 release Immortality. The album features eight tracks of highly melodic power/traditional heavy metal and was released in 2011. The musician behind the project is one Brent McDaniel, who plays all the guitars, bass, keyboards, drums as well as providing the vocals.

The music is stylistically somewhere between traditional heavy metal and power metal, but more leaning towards the latter in my opinion due to its high use of melody and keyboards. The instruments are well played, especially the guitars, and the compositions have a catchy nature about them that should appeal to fans of power metal. McDaniel’s vocals are not the most powerful that I have ever heard and are if anything are atypical for the power metal style, but are very clear and work well with the sense of melody in his compositions, which makes his music sound more on the atmospheric metal side of things.

I mean that in a really big way really. Although I catch the odd riff that sounds like it could come across as a lot more intense with a different take on the production (McDaniel handles all the production himself as well), the album feels laidback and lacks intensity, which many metal fans may miss in the music. With that in mind I do enjoy An Angels Burden based upon its own merits; the style certainly works well for this guy. Although they are unexpected the vocals are actually really what makes this album for me. They fit really well with the riffs and the keyboards, which unlike some power metal don’t completely dominate the sound, rather being pretty much used to carry the melody while the guitars provide the metal edge. This is the sort of album that has a real hypnotic feel to it, and it’s great for just sitting back and listening to when you want something to relax to, although tracks like Hope have a more upbeat feel to them than some of the others, while still being very recognisable as McDaniel’s take on the power metal genre.

I like this album because it’s different. When someone says power metal to me I usually expect either the rougher guitar driven style of USPM acts of the keyboard laden EuroPM style, while this really falls somewhere else, not necessarily between the two but I do detect shades of both here, since the music is more guitar driven even with the presence of those keyboards. With a score of addictive tracks on the album this is certainly to be getting many spins from those who find this style to their liking. I highly recommend An Angels Burden to anyone looking for an atypical take on the power metal genre.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scoring 8.2/10)
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