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Album Reviews : Born From the Ashes- Born From the Ashes

By on October 24, 2010

Born From the Ashes’ self-titled debut album (2010) demonstrates strong musical ability from the Brisbane-based progressive death quartet, showcasing moments of brilliant song construction, musical diversity and integration of many diverse elements. Unfortunately, between moments of brilliance the album largely features fairly bland one-dimensional death metal that lacks the real substance the band is very clearly capable of. Clocking in at nearly the hour mark the album also overstays its welcome a little too long- the first 6 or so songs make up the better part of the album (in this reviewer’s opinion) but after that point it feels like it runs out of interesting things to say and continues on with more of the same bland death metal rather than continuing to progress.

The album starts on an instrumental track entitled “Awakening” that works fantastically as an introduction to the album, giving the listener a good idea of what, at least instrumentally, the band is capable of, progressively building in intensity and complexity over the seven minutes of its duration. If “Awakening” provides a good indication of what the band is capable of, then the following track “Break Away” provides a good example of what the band actually performs. This track, like most of the album, consists largely of slow- to mid-paced riffs overlayed by the throaty rasp of vocalist Ian Ahles. It is these moments that really let the album down as they lack some fundamental aspects of metal, really lacking in aggression, or any sort of feeling at all. It’s not just the tempo- we all know that a slow song can be the most powerful of all songs- but it’s the way that the songs are arranged and the fact that Ahles’ vocals seem more directed at sounding throaty and raspy rather than actually injecting life into the songs. That being said some of the faster tracks, “Buried” and “Enemy” for example, certainly take a few steps in the right direction as far as actually putting some aggression into things.

However, the highlight of the album is most certainly the progressive elements to the music that constantly weave in and out of the heavier sections and often close out the songs. Acoustic guitars, flamenco-style fingerpicked sections, clean lead guitars, some interesting (and actually audible) bass playing, occasional clean vocals, and even an oboe on one track evidence the wonderful sound scapes that Born From the Ashes are more than capable of producing. On any given song, to this reviewer at least, the highlight is almost inexorably bound to be the acoustic melodies or whatever other softer element is used, as these seem to contain far more feeling than the rest of the music.

One final criticism of the album is that its sound quality is rather poor. It sounds like really poor production quality, but it could be due to the band’s choice of (poor) guitar tone (or both), but whatever it is it makes the album much harder to listen to. Production issues are not really a criticism of the band’s sound, and are especially forgivable when said band is still a local act putting out a first release, but it doesn’t change the fact that it makes a long album that much harder to get all the way through especially during some of the more drawn out raspy sections.

Overall it is hard to draw an overall conclusion about the quality of this record- really strong progressive elements meld with fairly dull death metal make a sound that is very hard to analyse overall (much less pin a number to). Though the album probably could have cut several of the later tracks to really improve the overall release and could definitely do with some better production, one’s perception of this album is probably going to be guided by how much they enjoy the slow death metal in between all the more musical material and so should be judged accordingly. 5.5/10

Band: Born From the Ashes
Album: Born From the Ashes
Year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Origin: Brisbane, Australia
Label: Independent
http://www.myspace.com/ashesproject

Track Listing:
1. Awakening=
2. Break Away
3. Trapped in my Escape
4. Broken, Falling to Awareness    <– Reviewer’s Choice
5. Buried
6. Enemy
7. Transient Vision
8. If Only Left Alone
9. Surrounded by Fire
10. Oath
11.  This is Judgement
12.  Terminus Exordium

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.