ASHEN REIGN — An Angels Burden (review)

ASHEN REIGN — An Angels Burden album cover Album · 2011 · Power Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
The Block
Ashen Reign is a one man band from the United States. Brent McDaniel is the mastermind behind all this, and he shows great talent on a various range of instruments, from the keyboard to the guitar and even the drums too. That in itself is a major achievement, but the music that goes along with all this is also another great achievement from Brent McDaniel.

“An Angels Burden” is the second release by Ashen Reign, coming after his 2008 debut, “Immortality”. Though the style of this album is clearly power metal there are also slight hints of other types of metal, such as progressive metal and traditional metal, added in to create a better all around feel to the album. The compositions of the songs on the album lend themselves very well to the style of music that Brent McDaniel plays and provide for great riffs and kind of catchy choruses. One thing that is a little out of place on this album is his voice. Granted, it’s not a bad voice, he is actually a very good singer, but it doesn’t seem to fit well with power metal. Most of the time power metal vocalists use powerful choruses and driving vocals, in general, but McDaniel’s voice seems a bit soft and doesn’t always provide that same power. On the more progressive tracks this is a huge plus, but it is a hindrance on the heavier songs. Power metal for me needs strong vocalists such as Russell Allen or Jon Oliva. Other than that, though, this album is pretty flawless.

All the songs on this album are very good, especially the ones that draw on the more traditional metal style such as “Broken Heart” and “Fear of the Snake”. Brent McDaniel is very adept at all of the instruments he plays, especially the guitars. His wonderful riffs on the instrumental track “The Sparrow” are great as are most of his guitar solos as well. Though many people associate power metal with fast, shredding guitar solos, this album doesn’t have tons of them, and a lot of the time the solos tend to be more melodic than shredding.

The production isn’t that bad, especially considering that Brent McDaniel did that too. He really is a one man band, and he really did do everything on this album from start to finish, and it shows through on the final product. I had great joy listening to this album, with all its catchy riffs and great solos, and look forward to Ashen Reign’s next release. For now “An Angels Burden” gets 3.5 stars.
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