Ashbury – Eye Of The Stygian Witches

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American band Ashbury has achieved something rare, strange and remarkable. Although they don’t originate from the wide spectrum of the heavy metal ranks and they don’t serve that sound, they draw their fans almost entirely from that particular pool. The self-financed debut album and its epic cover art back in 1983, gained them some fame among the vinyl collecting circles and for some reason their name earned a spot alongside some remarkable proto-metal (I don’t endorse the term though) releases like Legend, Loosely Tight, Survivor (that went on to become Philadelphia) even though they don’t belong in the exact same era. For years that particular vinyl was a collector’s dream but the band didn’t show any signs of activity. Cult status begun to grow and at some point the Davis brothers, the driving force behind Ashbury, realized that the band travelled through the lips of many people. Certainly way more that in their active days back in hometown of Tucson, Arizona. That gave them the drive to release a collection of old songs in 2010 that was meant to be the second Ashbury album. A band reunion followed and it was only a matter of time before the band headed to Europe for some live shows. They were received with enthusiasm and that fact could only lead to a third studio album.

Of course, it didn’t take more than a few seconds in order to realize that nothing has changed in the Ashbury universe. The Davis brothers don’t interact with other musical agents or current trends, instead they still continue serving the sound with which they introduced themselves 35 years ago. A blend of Southern American rock mixed doses of country music and a Celtic feeling. Nostalgic, dreamy melodies starring the acoustic guitar of Rob Davis and the lead electric one of his brother Randy. The majority of the album is consisted of blue-ish ballads that have a lot in common with fellow countrymen like Kansas, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Styx while they definitely have their eyes set towards the British Isles and Wishbone Ash in particular.

I suppose that even the hardest metal warriors need a melodic break from time to time and Ashbury present themselves as a quality solution for sure.