ALBUM TITLE – BLACKOUT
REVIEWER – GRAEME WRIGHT
From Ashes To New should need no introduction from me, but for those unfamiliar with their unique brand of Nu-Metal, Alternative Rock, Hip-Hop and Rap here’s a quick précis. The band were formed in 2013 and is based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After a number of personnel changes the band found a settled lineup in 2017 and has just released their fourth studio album on the influential Better Noise label. The complaint that some people make about this band is that they are neither fish nor fowl. Some may wish that they went full on and gave in to their Nu-Metal influences, while others prefer the Rap and Hip-Hop tones, comparing the band at times to a rocked-up Eminem. I personally feel that both sides are missing the point, and the band should be commended for producing a genuinely original sound in an era where so many bands merely reproduce what has gone before.
The album is described as a prequel to their debut album ‘Day One’ and is filled with angst-ridden lyrics with an ultimately hopeful message. The opening track ‘Heartache’ is a fine example of what’s to come. It starts with a rap-infused intro before segueing into a hugely melodic and appealing Alternative Metal song. It’s a great start to the proceedings and goes some way to explain why this band have achieved over 600,000,000 streams across all music platforms. ‘Nightmare’ and ‘Hate Me Too’ are two of the singles from the album and are chalk and cheese. The first is a massively aggressive Metal track while the latter is a much lighter Rap/Pop infusion with a huge chorus and is probably the most commercial song in the band’s locker. ‘Hope Your Happy’ is massively ambitious, contains elements that are both ultra heavy and chart orientated and shows the confidence of a band who are exactly where they want to be.
‘Barely Breathing’ continues in this vein, with the rap elements potentially causing some of the Metal fans to tap out, while ‘Dead To Me’ pushes forward an electronic synth and drum background with an intense and immediate Metal/Rap chorus and is a great record. The next track ‘Monster In Me’ is perhaps the perfect example of how this band bring all these different elements together in a totally unique and exciting way and it’s a truly excellent piece of music. ‘Echoes’ is melodic and almost relaxing, while ‘Armageddon’ begins with an ominous piano opening with a heavy rap track overlying an almost John Carpenter-esque backbeat.
‘Legacy’ is a superbly intense record (the kind that some of the reviews have indicated should be more prevalent on the album), while ‘Until We Break’ featuring Matty Mullins from Memphis May Fire is yet another radio-friendly rock track. The album closes out with ‘Broken By Design’, a feverishly apt finale to the pre-apocalyptic vibe that exists throughout this record.
In conclusion, I loved this album. If you are quite rigid in your musical outlook this album may veer too far towards Rap or Nu-Metal depending on your preferences. If you are prepared to give this a chance I feel you will encounter something really unique that is of the highest quality and for that alone From Ashes To New deserve the highest praise.
Danny Case – Vocals
Matt Brandyberry – Bass/Lead/Rhythm Guitar and electronics
Lance Dowdle – Bass/Lead guitar
Mat Madiro – Drums
- Hate Me Too
- Hope You’re Happy
- Barely Breathing
- Dead To Me
- Monster In Me
- Until We Break
- Broken By Design