Want to keep metal relevant? Learn from the best and go from there. On From Our Own Ashes, the bombastic new album from Matchstickmen, the band pulls electricity and flair from bands like Judas Priest, Metallica, Iron Maiden and even modern greats like Muse to create an album with some astonishing compositional prowess. In their efforts the band throws everything at each track, leaving nothing behind, and it sticks quite well, for the most part.
A flurry of riffs open the album on “Wake Up Call” with heavy metal and the hefty thump of the bass and drums driving the track. The dynamic switch-ups in the song provide some shockingly powerful moments in a song derivative of much simpler metal. Gritty slide guitar sets the tone for “Cheap Little Thrill” before it hits the gas and powers along in its hook heavy glory. Between a suave lo-fi verse, vocal chants and a chorus full of catchy licks from vocals and guitar the track is overflowing with memorable moments leaving one to hope the rest of the album can keep up.
There’s a darker tone to “For No Reason” with bass and drums leading the track in heavy fashion. Although the catchy and memorable moments are less frequent, the moments like solos and the intense outro more than fill the void. On “Wrong Side of 30” things jump back into high-gear, with cymbals ringing with reckless abandon. Call-and-response between guitar and bass as well as some great harmonies make it a vicious track with more than just energy to offer.
Although a little more predictable, the sound-crafting on “Imperfection” is quite the opposite. With a mix of more hooks that will get stuck in your head for days the track only suffers from being a little bland compositionally. “Different Paths” comes out of left field with a bright and soft-rock tone to its mood. Although the track shows some pop and tonal range for the band, it just feels a little too out of place to land cohesively in the album.
There’s bookended brilliance to “Hit By Chance” opening on a riff that would make Muse blush but soon switching to a verse that just can’t match its raw power. The track makes up for it when it kicks into its solo, reigniting the flame the opening lick started and giving every last ounce of energy the band has before dropping into an over-the-top heavy closer that ends it with head-banging glory. “On The Surface” opts for a more clean and open sound, using tone for dynamics instead of just extra volume. This said the disjointed feeling of the song makes it feel like two songs trying to mesh but always feeling a little separated.
Despite an underwhelming start, “Not Knowing” builds into a powerful and epic track that shows a powerful song-writing ability from the band. A solo that oozes emotion and chorus chants that beg for crowd sing-a-longs the track definitely hits its stride with a fury. There’s a distinct level of Jane’s Addiction overtones on “Numb” with fun production choices and the album’s heaviest distortion making it a unique track sonically. Save for some clever moments the track is a little light on originality at times and just doesn’t impress like some of the album’s earlier stompers.
You can buy the record from Holier Than Thou Records’ Bandcamp page.