Ashura – Chapter One: EP Review

So here it is, the very first review. And what an interesting CD to start out with. I can’t tell you to much about this band because there isn’t much info left about them, so most of this will be what I recall from the live shows.

I played some gigs alongside these guys with the band I was playing with back in 2006/2007. As I recall we were playing at The Bog, one of Northbridges finest dive bars that was nice enough to host original live music. I’m not really too judgemental on bars but this really was a fucking dive. To give you a bit of back story, The Bog was closed down sometime in 07/08 and was reopened by Perth entrepreneur Nunzio La Bianca who renamed it as The Rock Nightclub. In 2009 The Rock had its liquor license revoked and Bianca was the first bar owner in Perth to be banned from being employed at a licensed venue for 5 years.  The Police cited many incidents and violence in and around the venue. Through a liquor licensing loophole, Bianca tried to reopen the venue as a BYO function centre. Im not sure how he went with that but below is what the venue looks like today, still a shit hole. And its actually called Venue… how creative.

The Bog

Ahh memories, but I digress. Ashura were a progressive rock/metal band with what I would describe as a sort of gothic sound. When I say gothic I mean it sounded dark. The guitars sound heavy and down-tuned, there are lots of etherial sounds and unnerving chordal changes. Although the lyrics are quite dark the vocals are all sung quite angelically, not screamed which is something I really appreciate in this kind of music.

I think Ashura were really trying to create a sense of journey on this EP as each track flows with a strong sense of dynamics. The opening track is a punchy ride in the intro and verses but morphs into a more floating sound in the choruses eventually crescendoing to an explosive end. Tracks two and three take you on a similar dynamic ride bringing in more interesting “gothic” sounds with dark piano, synth pads and clean guitar work covered in delays and long reverb help create that dark feeling. The last tracks builds from start to end and by the last minute you’re falling into a pit of despair surrounded by unnerving sounds.

When I listening back to this EP I have to say I didn’t really like it. My musical tastes have definitely changed over time and this sort of music kind of stresses me out now. Having said that, I’ve listened to it a few times over again and I can really appreciate the work these guys put in to it and I definitely enjoyed the ups and downs that you’re taken on. I say this in the nicest way possible but If I ever want to feel the sound of a drill going through my brain I’d put this on (I know that sounds horrible but its meant as a compliment).

I have to give major kudos to these guys for pulling of the big sound live as a three piece. I have huge admiration for bands like COG, Heavy Weight Champ and Silverchair (pre Paul Mac) who pull off these massive sounds with only three members.

I have no idea where these guys ended up or what happened to the band but if you’re curious for a listen they still have a MySpace


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