Bring on the beers.

Have you heard of Ashes? It's a cool band. They released a cool record. I bought it. It's worth the buy. Worth the money. Worth to review it, maybe...

Ashes - Cursed (Perspective Records, 2013)

A1. Push
A2. Keep It
A3. Cursed
B1. Final Breath
B2. Wounds
B3. The Swarm

This has been a highly anticipated EP for me. I fucking love Ashes in every way possible. I love the band, I love the music, I love the people and I love their record label. Let's give it up for Perspective Records, who have released some really good hardcore records this year. Good job on this one too. Simple and clear packaging, a downloadcode for the nerds, great artwork (who made this?) and a choice between a pretty white and green splatter 7" vinyl or a nice digipack with a CD with Stijn's face on it. I think i made a wise choice by going for the vinyl, although the inside still has a picture of Stijn's face on it. Dang it.

Enough joking around, as white and green this record may look, it sounds nothing like white an green. Sounds like grey and maybe red, and black, and other dark colours. Ashes is a typically dark band, I think. I mean, they can be, they sometimes are. One thing Stijn once told me and is noticable on this EP, is that his vocals are cleaned up a bit. If you compare the vocal recordings to the demo songs, it's slightly less brutal. Still fierce as fuck though, and you can actually understand the lyrics better, which is cool. To a further extent, p. good job on the recording/mixing/mastering. Every part of the band comes out of his shell quite well and harmoniously.

Now, let's get to the songs, huh? I'm always nagging about stupid stuff when the songs are of course the most important things of the record. Cursed is a very Ashes-like record. I think it's getting to a point where the songs are recognizably theirs. Starting with the slow-paced intro-esque headbanger Push, you get the sense of groovy, gloomy, sincere and hard-hitting hardcore that these dudes do. Getting into Keep It, which was also on the second press of their demo, things get somewhat faster. Ashes heavily rely on riffs and rhythm patterns and I think they're a very 'punk' band to be a hardcore band. There's no typical breakdowns with the intention of live mosh. No, the energy in the songs should be enough to get a crowd going.
Stijn's vocals still get to me, especially on Cursed, where he seemingly releases a lot of negative energy. I'm not all for negativity, but a lot of great music comes from a negative place/state of mind. Cue Cursed, the title track. Equally groovy, with a sick bass riff driving the song and a high-ended outro that's a nice symbiosis of what they're capable of as a band. I'm the son of a cursed one/it took so many fucking years/before I renounced your name. I have no idea what that means, but you can feel it. Feeeeeeeel it.

Side B starts off with my favourite track, I think, on the rekerd. Final Breath. From the intro/verse riff on I'm captured. The contrast of the 2 measures of higher, more melodic chords to the introduction of the drums and bass and the lower, more stereotypically hardcore riffing is really cool. Should get me pumped, or stoked, or psyched at a live show. It should. Vjee's riffs are generally really cool and, as I said, they're proper riffs. The tempo change mid song is fitting, circle pit material. Build ups that pay off into cathartic songs of desperation and anger. At least, that's what I think the dude's singing about. I wouldn't really know for sure, though. He seems quite displeased with the world. Can't blame him, right?
Same theme continues in Wounds, for which they made a promo video. It's a catchy song. Love the drums on this one, they create a cool, dark-ish vibe for the tune. this world ends tonight/there is no hope. Yeah, told ya. Groovy shit. The last song on the recording is another groovy one. That's what I mean with "an Ashes-like record": it's consistent in sound. It has its proper qualities. If you like them, you'll probably like all or most of their songs. If you don't, then you probably won't like 'em at all. Anyway, cool back-and-forth vocals on this track, cool bass loops and a generally cool track to end a record on.
Fade out with feedback and we're clear.

Now give me that beer, love.

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