DSG – Ashes To Ashes

DSG - Ashes To Ashes


Magic Circle
Release date: June 10, 2003

User Review
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DSG means the David Shankle Group. Now, if you’re a really loud and true metal head, you know that David Shankle used to deal the six strings in Manowar from 1989 to 1994. He gave up the throne to study music, so they say, and finally you can witness and hear the result. You may ask yourself – was it wise to leave Manowar? DID he leave Manowar? Whatever…

Ashes To Ashes starts off in a slightly progressive way, with neo as its given name. Some say this record has a touch of Symphony X, and yes, some of the keyboard elements and that neo-classical guitar-sound is not so far off, but that’s where I draw the line. DSG is more traditional than the NJ progressives. It’s in fact plain heavy metal with keyboards and traditional melody structure. Out of the 13 tracks, DSG show that they can be catchy, progressive and powerful. The title track and “Calling All Heroes” are songs that make you hum along, and here and there you even can hear a little of what could have been a Manowar riff – if the sound had a little upgrade.

My main issue, like in many cases, is the singer. When the Manowar-like riff kicks in, it’s easy to hear that Trace Edward Zaber does not have the needed power to back it up. All right, all right – Shawn from Eidolon once told me that there isn’t a Geoff Tate on every street corner, and there sure ain’t no Eric Adams waiting there either. Zaber has a clean voice that just doesn’t make that little needed extra, and he sings a little epical when it’s not called for, and too traditional when it should have been more epic. But, maybe that’s how the guys want it? After all, I am just a humble writer…

So back to Shankle himself. I wasn’t his biggest fan in his Manowar days – he simply didn’t play the solos like Ross The Boss wrote them. But he can pen a good song, and he sure knows how to play his own writings. In true Manowar tradition (did I overuse that word in here?), there’s an instrumental showcase on “Ashes To Ashes,” the last track “Voice Of Authority” sees David shred like he never had a girlfriend in his life.

If you like catchy songwriting, “Manowar light” and lots of guitars, you can’t do too wrong in telling your dealer about this CD. And I wouldn’t mind if David speeds up his release frequency – the next one should be more convincing and less trying out…


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