The Eye of the Stygian Witches is the new original release of the Arizona veterans Ashbury. Part of the work of an album reviewer is to search for the story of bands. Usually, one uses Wikipedia, Metal Archives, Spotify. Fact is that it was very hard to have a single story from a single source about these gentlemen. I had to do my share of research to get to know what this band was about.
Rob and Randy Davis are the brothers behind the project that started in the 80s. Their album Endless Skies from 1983 is a collectors album due to a substantial effort on the vinyl quality and the cover print work. And after that, Ashbury disappeared. No one heard of them until Endless Skies was re-released in 2007 and a “new” album, called Something funny going on was released in 2010, containing unreleased materials from the 80s. These guys disappeared for about 2 decades and now they are finally back with originals. The two first albums, though, are rarities and collectors objects.
The reference to the Stygian Witches is providential. The Stygian Witches are the 3 classical Greek mythological creatures that would share one eye in order to tell the destiny to the wanderers that would come to see them. Ashbury are here taking their destiny in their hands again.
I don’t know how to feel about the voice? Seems wavy in the first track, End of times. Overall, the album gives me the impression that Rob Davies is not that good singer setting the tone. But there is something lovely about this country/metal/stoner combination, naive, sort of. In any other circumstance, I would be going mad at the lack of quality. But that’s the key point exactly. There might be lack of quality that is compensated by the feeling. The guitar solo is long enough and fits properly to a southern music style. All in all, we can expect some classic guitar work in this album. Listening to Good Guitar, the first chords seem like ZZ Top or something of the sorts. Celtic cross is a bit like another generic Irish folk song with flutes and sort of melodic composition that resembles all the cliches. Amber glass, though, is anthem material. I almost was singing along the first, the second and the third time I heard the album.
I have to let it clear that this album doesn’t feel like something from this day and age. It is not something mind-blowing but brings some comfort to the listener. Can’t decide if it is incredible or nothing special but the fact is that I have been thinking about it. The instrumental quality is there and I can hear the quality of the musicians but really haven’t set my mind about the vocals. It’s something I’m not used to and I honestly don’t know if it is good or bad. It seems off melody but it suits. This album is a time machine that gathers influences from the 80’s metal scene, a progressive/classic rock vibe, and has a southern genetics to combine it all. Worthy to hear. I guess I have to see these guys live.
Randy Davis – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Rob Davis – Vocals, Acoustic guitar
John Bujak – Guitars, Harmony Vocals
Joey Moreno – Bass
John Gimmler – Drums
Eddie Hosmer – bass
01 End of All Time