From Ashes Rise, the long-serving Portland hardcore/metal outfit, are soon to issue a new EP on Southern Lord records. Brad Boatright, a man who clearly works 25 plus hours per day, is a member of said band and he somehow manages to fit this duty into his incredible work schedule – he’s also the man behind the increasingly well known Audiosiege engineering house. Recent technical feats include the remastering of Sleep’s famous stoner epic, ‘Dopesmoker’, the awesome new Deviated Instinct EPs, Seas Will Rise album, Nails, and much more. His trademark style has brought the music alive on these recordings. Now it seems to be the turn of his own band to shine.
FAR have been around for years, but have endured a long hiatus since their last release, ‘Nightmares‘, in 2003 [they did release a live album since then, but this will be the first genuinely new studio stuff]. The preview I have heard tells me that this is well worth the wait. ‘Rejoice the End‘ is a five minute epic, with just the right balance of heaviness and tunefulness. The guitar attacks with a really solid, almost crust style riff, but the tempo is slower and more considered than you might expect. The melodic approach already evident in some of their earlier stuff is still there, but it has been developed, so that the tune gets priority over speed and rage. This is a good thing in many ways; it shows a maturity and a development within the Portland band, whilst many of their contemporaries have been content to stand still and press the ‘repeat’ button. It’s not a formula that will please the all-out crust crowd, but this release is sure to appeal to a wider audience.
Production on the record is, as you would expect, superb; there is a depth to the sound that conveys the band’s power whilst still enabling all the constituent instruments to come through in the mix – the bass and drums contribute to the track as well rather than just becoming lost in a general low-end rumble, and the vocals compete on their own terms. Tempo and intensity and varied from the reflective, melodic parts to the heads-down hardcore/metallic passages. It’s a satisfying, yet accessible release.
This is a release well worth watching out for, and will become part of the enviable Southern Lord release roster shortly!