From Her Ashes - 'Through The Darkest Of Days' EP Review

Tracklist:

1. Exit Strategy

2. There Is Always More Than One Way Out

3. Blinded By Hindsight

There's a four letter word in music that makes me recoil, much to the amusement of Ric Snell (fellow bandmate and reviewer here at 3S&O) and that word is: PROG. It's not that I don't like Prog, (Ric argues that I haven't listened to enough of it to make that kind of judgement) I think that, in my mind, I lack the commitment. My little experience of this genre is of concept albums, arduous adventure and whacky time signatures. In short, it isn't easy listening. However, having gigged with bands from all different backgrounds, one very important tenet of music appreciation that this reaffirmed for me is to keep an open mind. So when we befriended the fantastic four-piece Derby band From Her Ashes on tour, I was extremely grateful for my experience. Their second EP, 'Through The Darkest Of Days' was released late 2016 and much like it's predecessor, this three-track record weighs in at a meaty nineteen minutes. These tracks blend together Prog and Djent to produce a sound so palatable and powerful that even a "Prog-aphobe" like myself cannot put it down. Opening track 'Exit Strategy' wastes no time shaking hands, with Joseph Gunn's raw vocals plunging you straight into the meticulously controlled chaos created by the rest of the band. There's something really special about this track that sets it apart from the others. Gunn's vocals and lyrics, along with the rhythm of the instruments, are uplifting. It's one of those essential tracks in your playlists that puts everything into perspective when you've had a shit day at work, or (as sod's law dictates) several things in your life that could go wrong, all do at the same time. The rare case of clean vocals towards the end of the track are so powerful, it leaves you wanting to hear more. The second track, 'There Is Always More Than One Way Out' takes off in a different direction and really highlights the fact that no one in this band is being carried, nor is happy to be. Simon Mawhinney weaves a wickedly intricate bassline that really pushes the track forward. Accompanied by Mark Johnson on guitar, the two guitarists throw down a djent-ish rattle that proves you don't need a second guitarist to create a huge and heavy sound. 'Blinded By Hindsight' rounds off the EP in true Prog style. At almost nine minutes long, this track justifies its time perfectly, with the song framed around Ashley Holden's incredible drumming. Whilst being the driving, thrusting rhythmic force throughout the EP, this track in my opinion allows for the listener to really appreciate Holden's technique. He is never a beat away from the other boys and having listened to this track multiple times in the last six months, each time I find myself picking out impeccable stops and fills that I missed previously. The outro in this track really is a testament to the lads' technical ability, with them exploring rhythms that feel like they shouldn't compliment each other, but really do. I feel like there are only the odd minor snags, such as the breakdown outro at the end of 'There Is Always More Than One Way Out' feeling a bit rushed, or could maybe have been produced to be a bit sharper so as to maintain the definition of the intricate guitar work from both Johnson and Mawhinney. However, I don't feel like anything detracts from the raw power of this EP. It is like nothing I've ever heard and is certainly, in my view, the best release of 2016. I cannot wait to hear what they have in store for us next, but based on their last two EPs, these djentlemen are in the business of setting the bar high and kicking it square in the balls on their way up. More clean vocals? Well I'll be a son of a Gunn...

Bandcamp - https://fromherashes.bandcamp.com/album/through-the-darkest-of-days

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/fromherashes/

Review - Cee Gregory

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