As if to ‘Rise’ from the obscurity of their hometown, City Of Ashes know what they want and they’re gunning for it.
There’s a pleasantly confident Sussex air about this outfit – a certainty that exudes instrumentals that don’t hold back, that puff their chests out and make their presence known. The band’s second album ‘Rise’ isn’t full of itself, however, it’s just clear in its aims and shows them appropriately within their talents.
From the voluminous echoes of ‘Uprising’ and the boomingly impressive fretwork throughout ‘Vipers Nest’, their melody-driven repetition showcases a wealth of character, as frontman Orion Powell‘s seductive tones cry: “You’re out of line and you think you’ve won, give me a reason to respect your tone.”
Throughout lies a recurrent theme of agonising decisions to move on, as ‘Sometimes’ projects an ethereal, angelic melody to create a gorgeous album highlight. It’s clear the sentiments come from a raw place for them, as further proof of Orion’s vocal strength to match his namesake emerges through the reflective ‘Battles of my Youth’ and the anguished ‘Walk Away’. The latter significantly demonstrates the 30 Seconds To Mars-esque authority of drummer Dan Russell, with instrumental unity beyond their years.
The trudging ‘Bittersweet’ soon bursts into flame with incredible electric backing from James McDonald and a meandering melody that shows their harmony as a line-up. Choppy waves meet the shore through ‘Save Me’, a punchy and heartfelt plea that shows Orion at his peak, while the stomping ‘Iliad’ shows Dan Frederick’s uniting bass presence. Despite a few lacklustre moments of ‘We Own The Night’, the seductive backing of ‘Bloodlust’ and the sassy ‘Confessions’ soon blow it out of the water.
With Orion‘s anguished tones and James‘s pained solos, there’s potential in City Of Ashes and ‘Rise’ scratches the surface, but there’s still a long road ahead.
’Rise’ by City Of Ashes is out now.
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Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)