Album Review: City of Ashes – Rise

During this journey we call life, there are potentially multiple instances where we as people are hit hardest and have to really find out what we’re made of. What gets us through those dark times depend on the person; some rely heavily on family or friends, some people can manage to shut down and block out the noise and others take that pain and anguish and turn it into something to share with the world. Starting in 2013, a relatively unknown band from the town of Brighton known as City of Ashes went through what you could essentially call an obstacle course of struggles. Out of those struggles came an album called All We Left Behind; an album full of experiences, emotions and self-reflection that was released towards the end of 2013 and gained great fanfare among alternative rock fans. Now with a follow up album due out 03.24.16 known as Rise, the question remains – how does it stack up against such an emotional, roller-coaster of a debut?

In my opinion, admirable. Rise opens with a track called “Uprising” that uses a simple, yet subtle guitar riff and distortion effects for a powerful musical piece until halfway through vocalist Orion Powell starts in with some echoed/gang-vocal like sounds backing him up. This intro is what I believe sets the tone for the entirety of the album which carries through from track to track. Rise as a whole is a very atmospheric sounding album – think in the vein of a lighter sounding 30 Seconds to Mars. This comparison is easiest found on the single “Battles Of My Youth” but can also be found on “Save Me” and “Bloodlust” amongst others with subtle influences.

On top of the atmospheric sound, the albums theme is one that I feel people can easily relate to. Each track is appropriately titled to match the songs story while connecting the songs together to create the overall story the band is telling with the album. You have your lighter toned tracks like “Walk Away”, “Bittersweet” and “Save Me” that contrast well with the darker tracks like “Battles Of My Youth”, “Bloodlust” and “We Own The Night”. As the band have previously mentioned, the bright points of the album shine in a whole new light, but the dark points are so much more intense, and this is as true as you can get in regards to the album.

If All We Left Behind was the bands origin story, Rise is their story on the way to the top; the album where they found their sound and ran wild with listeners’ imaginations. If you’re a fan of atmospheric sounds with moody and insightful, lyrically driven songs, City of Ashes should be the next addition to your library and musical rotation.

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