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Κυριακή, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2013

THE PAST IS ALIVE #1: Featuring - ASHBURY - Endless Skies (Private Pressing - 1983)

A new special on Forgotten Scroll. "The Past Is Alive" series by George C. will bring right in front of your eyes, recordings -official and not- that would make your musical journey a little more adventurous. Releases that are waiting to be discovered by the reader. This is done the good old way, as the writer is focusing on the music trying to transfer the recording's vibe into written words. If the reader would be attracted, going out to discover the music described in here then this series would be a success. Tucson, Arizona USA. 1983 era... the first stop, to bring into the front a great record, a favorite. This is the debut by Ashbury who have eventually re united and will visit Europe for shows (including Germany -Hammer Of Doom 8- on November 15th and Greece on November 16th, 2013). For those who want a bunch of more information about the band we have published online their interview which was originally featured on the fifth printed issue of Forgotten Scroll (April 2013).


ASHBURY - Endless Skies (Private Pressing - 1983)

Record covers. Charming visual trinkets, able to send mystical calls to lover’s of music, giving promises of wonders locked within the vinyl’s grooves. Such a call was given to me, when many years ago I first gazed upon the cover of ASHBURY’s debut album, hidden in the pages of a publication, deemed appropriate for collectors of such relics. An obscure recording, the band’s only one at the time, with Arizona, US, named as the place it hailed from and Randy and Rob Davis,  the two brothers mostly responsible for bringing into fruition this work, with the help of Johnny Ray, providing drum duties.

I was immediately captured by the artwork, wishing to be able to learn more about the lonely, elderly figure on top of what it seemed to be a hill, the valley at his feet and the town it held, and of course about the skies, red in color, described as endless. A sense of mystery and melancholy was evident in the simply crafted image, as well as more grandiose, epic feeling. Unfortunately, these given promises of wonders, was not to be fulfilled for quite some time, due to the albums rarity, since my own shortcomings in gaining access to such releases, certainly played a large part.

When it finally crossed my path, I was overjoyed to discover that it sounded as I had imagined it would The music can be described as Hard Rock, venturing on the borders of becoming Heavy Metal, with memorable songwriting, full of hooks.. Guitars are aplenty, always melodic, provided by Randy Davis, whose hands are not prone to standing still, refusing to yield to pyrotechnics at the same time. The other Davis brother, Rob, assumes the vocals,  with a  wonderfully, sometimes fragile,  warm voice, while providing a steady backdrop of acoustic guitar.

All these are certainly worthy merits, but they are not the reason I hold this album in such high regard. The atmosphere created by the music of these two brothers, and the feelings it conveys, are majestic and melancholic at the same time, powerful in a more elegant and noble manner. The music does not boast its strength, perhaps fooling some listeners into labeling it as weak and lifeless. The path chosen is one of inner ward reflection, one leading to catharsis. There is true beauty here, found in the melodies and the soothing vocals, always able to elevate my spirits. It gives my mind access to arcane lands, where wizards gave warnings that were not heeded, love was refused, dark paths were chosen for noble causes, and pain recognized. Hope is not lost; it just takes some time to be found.

Endless Skies is not a record I tend to play when I have the urge to seek music inducing physical prowess, but it always catches my eye when I am in need of a sublime musical journey to lands unknown, timeless and never existing at the same time. A mind trip of reflective nature, with inner strength renewed as its reward. 

George C.

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