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

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lonely China Day - This Easily Assimilative People – I wrote about this Chinese band’s previous CD back in #36. On this latest effort, they continue their path moving away from sounds typical of rock bands and further into the esoteric realms of...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues