Monday, February 6, 2012

Album Review, Ashes of Iron, Self Titled Album

Ashes of Iron. A record review that felt inspired from the outset. This English band formed, or should I say were FORGED, back in the fateful year of 2008. Since then they can boast supporting the likes of Brandt Bjork and the Bros and Viking Skull. This self titled record was released just days ago and fuckin' wait til you hear this beast of an album!

Lo-fi sounds evocative of Neu! introduce opening track 'That Fucking Look in Your Eye', but quickly implode like a dying star that for some reason sounds like Wooly Mammoth. The chorus is an unexpected departure from the vibe of the verse, bringing out a very welcome grunge feel. And onto 'Sanefull', which is all straight up hard rock goodness. Earthy, overdriven guitars in harmony and open hi hats that bring the best of Corrosion of Conformity to mind: lovely jubly! And with no messing about we go headlong into the sinister 'Martyr'. Dissonant, old-skool metal riffing trundles along like a steam train with a drunken driver.

It's clear after the first three tracks that this is nicely angy music, the kind of atmosphere that any given punk rock band wishes they could evoke but Ashes of Iron do it at a moment's notice.

'Pharmacopoeia' is a slow build up of weaving fuzzy guitars and grunting bass before ending up in a Queens of the Stone Age style groove. The vocals maintain a high timbre, bringing to mind 'Rocks' era Aerosmith at its best. 'Rivals' begins with a nicely unpredictable riffing pattern and settles down into an alt-metal swing. A very American tasting rock song, whatever that means... 'Fresh Ears' is a full on QOTSA style head mover, and features the most twisted and aggressive vocal performance on here so far.

Ashes have more than shown us that they know how to put two guitars to great use, this has to be one of the most interesting riffathon records I've heard lately. 'Therapist' continues that trend with some later Sabbath style dirty hard rock riffing, all in a bruising package of just two and a half minutes. 'Gone in the Stun' takes the record in a slightly different, more contemplative than we've heard up to this point. No less pregnant with heavy guitars though, which themselves are taken to experimental places as the track reaches its climax. 'The Beast' displays a slightly doomier side to Ashes; mid-tempo steady grooves and low guitars. And it's all over in a few sleeting moments and straight into 'Three Daze' which sees the band back in an angry and impatient mood. A great example of how the band like to construct a song, certainly a stand out on the record. We wrap up our time with Ashes of Iron with 'Nails and the Truth'. Another stand out right from the start that sees the band once again in a stoner/doom frame of mind. The only track that can be described as lengthy makes an excellent closer for this superb album.

Ashes of Iron have produced a solid bit of work here, quality from all instruments and every aspect of the production, it's hard to fault. My only wish would be to hear the band branch out a little more, there's a lot of raw talent floating around that could be harnessed into something incredible. No doubt the band will continue to give us more of the good stuff as time goes on. Cheers to Ashes of Iron!

Ashes of Iron, Self Titled.
Rating: 9/10
For fans of: Wooly Mammoth, Them Crooked Vultures, Fireball Ministry.

By Edward Gerard Brophy,

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