Out Of The Ashes Into The Light is the independent released debut album by Chilean power metal outfit Abstract Symphony. It is an album thick with competent musicianship and impressive guitar centric heaviness. This focus on the burning guitar skills is showcased already on the stylish album cover, branding an angel statue wielding a flaming axe, and certainly, there is enough talent here to satisfy fans of icons such as Malmsteen and the likes. Their speedy take on melodic power metal has a heavy blend of neoclassical elements, mostly in way of the elegant guitar playing by Esteban Hulloa C and Esteban Hulloa V. Yet there is little in the way of outright showmanship, but rather cohesive song structures where the soloing and burning frets have a natural part, blended seamlessly and not overstaying their welcome. Still, every song on here contain lengthy instrumental passages, where both guitarists battle keyboardist J.J Roldan in speedy solo breaks and impressive feasting in the musical prowess, without steering away from the integrity of the song itself.
Speed is also laid heavily down by drummer Sebastián Pontigo, whose efforts lay a dense foundation for the licking flames that are the guitars. Unfortunately, one might say, Christopher Farías’s bass is rather bland and mostly follows the rhythm guitars, leaving the blistering leads to take the spotlight mostly on their own. The keyboards play a rather laid back role, acting not so much up front as the guitars, but instead as a melodic piece during the verses, coupled with the aforementioned dueling in some of the instrumental passages - though Roldan both opens and closes the album by way of the two piece title tracks. Lastly, vocalist Marcelo Carvajal, a clearly competent voice with great potential, yet burdened by inexperience and (as I will develop further on), a distinct lack of great material to work with. So, clearly, the album is mostly a service in neoclassical guitar fandom, but the overall scope of the album isn’t quite as grand as it might seem at first glance; 13 tracks of rapid guitar fire? Not exactly.
The album is cut into three sections, each three songs in length and divided by a short interlude, and smack dab in the middle of the album is a short, bland ballad titled Who’s To Blame. Both these mid-album interludes and the ballad in fact could surely have been cut out without sacrificing much of the flow. Indeed, the interlude End Of Days is an a cappella performance by Carvajal, which serves no purpose other than to make evident his flaws; his pronunciation falters heavily and the overall tone of the interlude only seems to drag down the flow. Instead, it is the speedier numbers that make the best impressions. Here, Carvajal’s flaws do not seem so bad (though for the follow up he could do with a singing lesson or two), in that his role is often not the central focal point. This, in fact, is part of what still makes Abstract Symphony rather hard to get into; the lack of vocal melodies and choral arrangements to match the scope of the music. It might also be pertinent to see some more effort put into mid-paced tracks and to make these just as impressive as the faster numbers. A solid debut even with its ups and downs; Out Of The Ashes Into The Light certainly proves to be an abstract symphony.
Standout tracks: The Master Of Sorrow, Infinite Desire