Exposé Online banner

Ashby — Fragmental
(Bandcamp no#, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-07-15

Fragmental Cover art

This German band got its start in 2011, and like the majority of recent progressive bands, there’s more than a little metal in their sound, courtesy of Jan Göpelt’s guitar. Joel van der Heiden’s keyboards are the other prominent instrumental sound, with a variety of different tones, sometimes reminiscent of piano, but more often masses of generally string-like synths. One thing you don’t get is a lot of retro analog sounds. In this case, though, the tones are good enough that not much is lost. On the vocal side, there is Sabina Moser, who has a strong voice that commands attention when she’s present, though there are many long instrumental passages where she can step out for a beer or a coffee. Unlike many singers in progressive rock or metal, she has a bit of grit in her tone, giving her a somewhat bluesy sound even though the music is quite far removed from the blues. This combination works well for the band, and calls to mind some past references like Jumbo, Gabriel-era Genesis, and so on. Apparently she was a contestant on the German edition of The Voice, but I think she’s better served creatively in a setting like this than covering pop songs. There are occasional backing male vocals, though this is not a prominent element of Ashby’s sound. It’s almost a cliché to round out a review by saying the rhythm section (in this case bassist Christopher Streidt and drummer Rik Schindler) holds things together or something like that, but these guys really have their stuff down, with some nicely coordinated transitions and tricky little details that elevate the music beyond just riffs and chord progressions. Ashby’s full-length debut is a supremely polished example of modern progressive rock of the variety that doesn’t harken to nostalgic styles — and doesn’t sound like Porcupine Tree either.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Ashby

More info
http://ashbyofficial.bandcamp.com/album/fragmental

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Harry Chapin - Legends of the Lost and Found – The late Harry Chapin was without a doubt the supreme storyteller of the 1970s; his lyrics written second and third-person were down-to-earth, acutely engaging and socially conscious, with clever...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues