Ashes Of Your Enemy
posted on 12/2007 By:
It’s time to pull up your Jnco Jeans, grab your chain wallet, and bop on over to the mall. Why? Because Crash Music is having a killer sale on day-old, metallic hard rock, and Ashes of Your Enemy’s The Undying is the slam-bang blue light special.
Taking the bait (sans parachute pants), the initial listen conjures comparisons to New Mexico’s Kryoburn. While Ashes of Your Enemy aren’t nearly as talented, crushing, or dependent on Fear Factory’s career, they are similar in the sense that both employ a highly percussive rhythm guitar technique that is dependent on copious amounts of palm-muting, coupled with a warm ‘n fat tone. They also stick to the tried-and-true ‘harsh verse/clean chorus’ formula that is so damn prevalent among bands with an ear pointed towards 1999. Alright, maybe they don’t sound a whole lot like Kryoburn, per se…rather a veritable crap-ton of clueless bands that have flickered out over the past decade without making the slightest dent of relevance. Forging ahead with an awkward style that aims for rockstar status while clinging to a harder edge, the band essentially writes their own death warrant. Theirs is an approach that alienates both the underground creatures who crave something challenging, as well as the radio-tuning crowd that craves anthemic angst. Disturbed and Drowning Pool managed to leap over this stylistic crevasse onto greener pastures, but a major letdown is on tap if they are hoping for a similar trajectory. Times have changed.
Any band rocking this method of nu-ism is going to live and die by its vocalist. The lyrics and hooks the frontman produces are absolutely vital to their success, because the guitar work certainly isn’t the focal point (in fact, I think the same riff was used for the entire album, unless an abundance of Zakkarmonics qualifies as variation). Unfortunately, their vocalist, known simply as Kevin, lacks the personality to carry the record. His “I’m a badass” mentality isn’t adequately conveyed though his unimpressive barks and screams, and his foot-on-the-monitor choruses, while tuneful, also lack the proper bombast to make an impact. To be fair, some of this blame can be deflected onto the producer, as many of The Undying’s refrains would’ve benefitted from some gang vocals or multi-tracking. And while no amount of studio trickery could save drivel like “Binge and Purge” and “New World Apocalypse”, the album’s centerpiece, “Living Sacrifice”, is a legitimately awesome song. Catchy-as-fuck, energetic, and completely vocal-driven, it’s proof positive that Ashes of Your Enemy have the potential (down the road, mind you) to be one hell of a guilty pleasure. Alas, the next track, “IDGAF”, takes about four steps backward…and into that aforementioned mallcore abyss. Those initials, unfortunately, stand for “I don’t give a fuck”, and the entire song is built around these five words (and guys, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t give a fuck either; and if you truly ‘don’t give a fuck’, why the hell do you keep bringing it up?). “IDGAF” is this disc’s breaking point…from then on, everything sounds even more dated and tired.
All told, this is a clichéd collection of music, aimed at an audience that I’m not even sure exists anymore; the nu-rock thing has been passé for quite a while now. With a massive stroke of luck, these dudes may run (blindly) into a revival of the style, and latch on as some kind of throwback band…but I seriously doubt it. Those that think music can’t get any heavier than Chimaira might find this clunker driving straight up their alley, but most people should dive the fuck out of the way. While they may have lofty aspirations, Ashes of Your Enemy will be playing to the New Jersey Bar Skank demographic for the foreseeable future.
Register to post comments.