Ostura - Ashes of the Reborn
Reviewer: Rak Hiasat - 2013-01-28
Highlights: King's Crowning, The Gathering, Ashes of the Reborn
Aside from the fact that the image depicted on the album cover looks like a warrior who wants to raise the good in this world, Ostura did everything right with this record. "Ashes of the Reborn" is considered a classic of the genre for the simple reason that it kicks copious amounts of ass in the way that cheesy, over the top mid-eastern Power Metal is supposed to. These guys weren't worried about being taken seriously like all of those other bands in their scene; they just wrote some catchy music that has stood the test of time, a few years of existence. Ostura showed up like a big band in the Power Metal scene, and they are soon to be recognized as a premier one in the Middle East.
Into the music, when I first hear this singer, it somewhat reminds me of those "popular" Metal bands that have graced our minds. Of course this has so much more class and power, well, for the most part anyway. 'A Warrior's Tale' starts off rather resembling an anthem, and is a damn good track. 'Sword of Erus' follows, and this guy can hit some high notes, though it's not done very often; he's got a raspy edge to his voice which keeps it from sounding whiney or too high pitched. But it's obvious that the female vocalist could have also fronted. Great atmosphere as well in the third track ' King's Crowning'; this cooperation between like 15 musicians is really amazing, well written and performed as it should be. Some guitar riffs are beyond mastery. Another highlight of this album is definitely the soloing. Every solo is fantastic with its miraculous blend of shredding and melody and they could easily get the listener to whip out their air guitar and solo manically on their imaginary axes. Ostura's real strength is the way in which they play their music with such conviction and menacing precision that they're easily revered by fans, and that’s what track 4 "On Hills of Glory" shows us.
They never really stray from their formula at all. Each song is a treat, some I enjoy more than others, but there's really nothing on here that I'd call a bad song. The mixture of female-male clean/tender/high tone vocals is really what will grab your attention first, and then comes Youmna Jreissati’s angelic voice; listening to "Tears of Paradise" will explain all this.
Track 6 "The Gathering" starts with a touch from the band session violinist Mr. Rayan Seif, acoustic guitar moves from Mr. Hady Barhoush, and then we come back to the Middle Eastern Kamelot mood, which I prefer.
Let’s not forget to mention the three clean vocalists Tony Ghanem, Elia Monsef and Sami Gabriel, who really proved to the world wide Symphonic Power Metal scene that there are some real talents in the Middle East. The music is damn good Power Metal, as traditional as the day is long with structures and rhythms rendered dynamic and even epic at times, yet straying away from that with some of the pure Gothic sound that has invaded the last part of the track "Infernal Hymn".
The last track, self-titled as "Ashes of the Reborn”, is one of those tracks, beginning with a short intro of simple piano and awe inspiring keyboards in a later Savatage vein before jumping into structures sparked with striking rhythms that don’t go unnoticed, and even the vocals add to the drama, ending one of its strong rhythms with an endearing, offbeat flourish in a way too many bands have forgotten; meanwhile the remaining riffs shift from hard-nosed power to near delicate ensembles. It's great in its simplicity, possessing more driving riffs than the rest, a long substantial solo, and a chorus touched simultaneously by courageousness and tragedy. It is the first track to initiate speedier notions in both the percussion and solos, drumming its walking beautifully with piano/keyboards touch, and without the typically Epica harsh vocals style the theme was delivered as the band want, I am sure; as I have considered the album to be one of the top 5 albums of 2012.
Ostura is really damn good band! If you love the traditional or 80's/90's power metal sound then you must seek this album out now! It has a lot to offer and I think most Metal heads will agree with me that this album will give you a good minutes’ load of head banging Metal!