City Of Ashes – Rise

City Of Ashes_RingMasterReview

Making a big impression with their well-received debut album back in 2013, UK alternative rock band City Of Ashes now release its successor Rise; an encounter easy to imagine finding an equal if not bigger success. Consisting of eleven heart bred and melodically provocative tracks, the album confirms and pushes on the promise of predecessor All We Left Behind. In some ways, the band’s sound has not made any major leaps from the last album, or the EP before it, yet there is an open new maturity to songwriting and the bolder emotive imagination involved which alone grabs attention.

Since forming in 2009 and releasing the Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP, with All We Left Behind swiftly following, City Of Ashes has played all across the UK, sharing stages with the likes of Skindred, Exit Ten, Polar, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Fei Comodo, Hildamay, and Young Guns along the way. Subsequent performances on their tour with Trapt only enhanced a reputation already ripe through their first album. Now it is the self-released Rise about to lure fresh attention the way of the Eastbourne quartet; an aim, as suggested earlier, easy to see succeeding to some potent degree.

Uprising is first up and swiftly lays an evocative melodic caress on ears as darker hues bring just as alluring shadows. The impressive vocals of Orion Powell quickly add their prowess backed by great band harmonies. The track is only a brief lure into the album but an attention grabbing one setting up the appetite for the following Vipers Nest. A sonic web of hooks and riffs descend on the senses first as the firm beats of Dan Russell make a thick impact with the brooding bass line of Dan Frederick in close attention. Soon bound in the melodic enterprise of James Macdonald and coloured by the expressive tones of Powell, the song easily catches the imagination with a touch of Placebo meets Manic Street Preachers to its broader alternative rock character.

RISE Artwork_RingMasterReviewBoth Battles Of My Youth and Walk Away keep the strong start going; the first with its anthemic roar and intimate tone amidst vocal and melodic suggestiveness whilst the second shares even more intensive angst in its melancholic cry. Again Powell impresses; the drama of his delivery an emotive flame within the more subdued but no less enticing rhythms and the creative adventure of Macdonald’s fingers on strings.

A delicious brooding bassline and core riff marks out Bittersweet next, that and a climatic feel to its emotional and sonic intensity, whilst Save Me carries a lively simmer to its bubbly melodies and crisp beats to equally grip ears and appetite. Whether there are any major surprises within the songs and indeed album can be argued, but each offering has something fresh and imaginative to its character and invention which draws attention easily as here or greedily as by the outstanding Iliad. Unstoppably emerging the album’s favourite track, it is a haunted and darkly lit proposal with a slow prowl as portentous as it is inviting. Matching his surroundings, Powell’s voice also ebbs and flows in raw emotion as rhythms and riffs border on stalking the senses. Provocative theatre in the ears, the song simply steals the show.

Bloodlust has a similarly hued nature to its canvas but a far lighter and vivacious air to its emotive outpouring and subsequent fiery expulsions whilst Sometimes provides a croon fuelled by apprehensive words and emotions cradled in orchestral like melodic sensitivity. Both songs keep enjoyment high before Confessions raises the album’s game again with its earnest roar.

Closing with the sober but potent sharing of the heart that is We Own The Night, band and album leaves pleasure a strong reaction to its imaginative and tenacious endeavours. Rise is a strong continuation of the band’s previous releases, if not a dramatic leap forward. As suggested earlier though, it is a more rounded and mature adventure embracing all the already recognised City Of Ashes qualities and more; and their most impressive outing yet.

Rise is out now @ http://cityofashes.bigcartel.com/

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Pete RingMaster 25/03/2016

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City Of Ashes – All We Left Behind

City Of Ashes Online Promo Shot

Alternative rock band City Of Ashes started off the year in fine style with their debut EP, a release rich in promise and accomplished craft to suggest the UK band as a bright emerging spark in British rock. Now the Sussex quartet are seeing out the other end of 2013 with an equally attention grabbing release in first album All We Left Behind. Consisting of twelve vibrantly emotive and melodically potent tracks, the release is a continuation of the introduction made through the Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP. It may be a small expansion of the impressive starter but makes a firm confirmation of the band’s strengths whilst providing an engaging presence.

Formed in 2009, the Eastbourne band took little time in honing their sound and taking it to stages across the South East and subsequently the country. Simultaneously their fanbase rose as the band shared stages with bands such as Skindred, Exit Ten, Polar, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Fei Comodo, Hildamay, Young Guns and many more. The Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness EP brought Orion Powell (vocals), James Macdonald (guitar), Dan Frederick (bass), and Dan Russell (drums) into sharper focus within a brewing awareness of their expressively impacting sounds as paraded on the release and you can only suspect that the returning Matt O’Grady (Deaf Havana, You Me At Six, Don Broco) produced album will reinforce and push further that recognition.

It is fair to say that All We Left Behind has not made a major leap on from its impressive predecessor but certainly shows that City Of Ashes Cover Artworkthe band has a range of songwriting depths and songs which have a wide high quality base to spring from. From the short intro instrumental Initia, the album flows into the dramatic Ode To Innocence. Guitars coax the ears in sonic angst from the start whilst the compelling bass line seeds strong intrigue into the emotive narrative of the song musically and vocally. There is a Placebo edge to the sound and voice of Powell, as well as a feel of Mind Museum and Funeral For A Friend which adds spice to the strong voice and design of the song. It is a smouldering enticement with fiery bursts of passion which only accentuates its persuasion and makes a deeply satisfying start.

Next up Falling Star takes things up another level, the guitar coaxing which starts things off immediately riveting and soon given extra potency as persistent beats and the continually engaging vocals of Powell join the tempting. The first stretch of the song reminds of Waiting For The Weekend by The Vapors but soon finds its distinct character as the guitars expands their melodic arms and intensity unveils its weight and emotion. The song never explodes into dramatic action but offers a persistent almost nagging declaration which is very easy to devour and want more of.

Both Recovery and In Retrospect present a lingering enticement, the first a gently building slice of hard/alternative rock with a slight Manic Street Preachers essence to its evocative flavouring and the second a reserved stroll of provocative melodic textures and emotional bait. Neither matches the opening pair of songs but still continues the album’s weighty call upon thoughts and appetite whilst The Highest Point Of Living provides a tender ballad of fine vocals and chilled guitar suasion which from a decent start grows bigger and more impressive, especially through melancholic strings and the excellent tones of Powell, alongside band harmonies. It is a song which inspires tingles in its latter climactic parts and leaves the senses and emotions ignited in appreciation and pleasure. The song seeps into next up Brand New World where the band creates another healthy slice of alternative rock with a melodic pop glaze. It does not set fires in the passions but still adds to the flavoursome richness flowing through the release.

Across the likes of Decay and Dorian Gray, City Of Ashes keeps attention firmly locked in their direction even if the album has lost some of the potency found in its first half, the skill of the band and the craft of songs an attractive constant. Alongside those though the rhythmic tantalising of Masks and Waves, with its dark prowling shadows provided by the bass a conflicting yet complimenting union with the sonic breeze and melodic stream of invention, bring All We Left Behind to a formidable closure. The album leaves a strong taste for City Of Ashes and their inventive sound even if maybe it does not have that spark or ingredient yet to send the passions into full ardour. The feeling that this trigger is waiting within the band’s horizons is impossible to dismiss and something to add spice to the suspected rise of one very promising band.

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7/10

RingMaster 11/11/2013

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CITY OF ASHES to release debut album’All We Left Behind’, Mon 11th November‏

City Of Ashes Online Promo Shot
Emerging energetic South East alt-rockers ‘City Of Ashes’ are poised to stake their claim as one of the exciting new breed of bands to break through this year. They are loaded up with their blistering debut album ‘All We Left Behind’, out Monday 11th November, and it’s ram-packed with killer tracks, and sure to set the rising foursome apart from the masses.
“…this is polished, emotional work. Frontman Orion Powell pours his heart out throughout….” Rocksound Magazine.
Sparking glowing comparisons to ‘Thursday’ and rising UK stars ‘Don Broco’, City Of Ashes bond together a crafty tunesmith approach with a sincere and emotive delivery.
Born in 2009 and hailing from Eastbourne, Sussex, COA feature Orion Powell (vocals), James Macdonald (guitar), Dan Frederick (bass) and Dan Russell (drums). The tireless quartet went about the business of perfecting their sound quickly, spending their early years cutting their teeth playing a host of shows throughout the country. The youthful upstarts amassed a dedicated following and managed to share stages with a host of rising bands from Exit Ten, Polar, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, Fei Comodo, Hildamay and Young Guns, to Yashin, Skindred, Fearless Vampire Killers, Attica Rage and The Dead Lay Waiting.
Besides having a hearty appetite for touring, the band also have a dedication to recording, and enlisted respected producer Matt O’Grady (Deaf Havana, You Me At Six, Don Broco) to work on their debut EP ‘Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness’. The record further solidified the band’s growing fan-base and garnered positive acclaim from Rocksound Magazine, as well as racking up an array of glowing online reviews.
City Of Ashes have now raised the bar with their debut album ‘All We Left Behind’ which is unleashed this Autumn. The broody instrumental ‘Initia’ starts the record before the punchy riff assault of ‘Ode To Innocence’ lays down the band’s intriguing manifesto of layered guitar lines and alluring hooks. Their previous single, ‘Falling Star’, continues to ignite with its colossal refrain, and the current single, ‘In Retrospect’, perfectly highlights the quartet’s nimble aptitude for despatching a killer single with its soaring melody and luscious guitar passages. ‘Brand New World’ nods its head in the direction of Taking Back Sunday with vocalist Orion Powell laying his soul bare to devastating effect. ‘Dorian Gray’ moves the album along swiftly with stomping beat blasts and visceral riffery, and then ‘Waves’ further demonstrates the band’s song-writing guile and ability to unleash an epic anthemic chorus, as it brings the album to a close.
The alternative tunesmiths hit the road this summer and have extensive touring planned for the remainder of the year; track the band’s movements atwww.facebook.com/cityofashesband
City Of Ashes Cover Artwork
CITY OF ASHES RELEASE ‘ALL WE LEFT BEHIND’ ON MONDAY 11th NOVEMBER