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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Earth To Ashes

Prologue

Review by Larry Toering

This is another Northwest outfit I feel has a bright future ahead of them, as they open for national and international acts, mostly on three-band bills. They do have a strong power metal feel, but make no mistake as they mature along, they're essentially prog inclined, but play with such a ferocity where one might argue they lean more on metal. But, after attending live performances, the prog factor in them is much more evident on the whole, and that is where they spend their time developing. The album was recorded at Opel Studios in Portland, Oregon by the brilliant Kevin S. Hahn. This is their debut disc, but they do have a follow up being prepared for release as I write this review of what is a great EP. The players here come in the shape of killer twin lead guitarists Matt Dorado and Larry Massengale Jr., along with charasmatic frontman from Hawaii on bass and vocals, Angelo Jensen. Additionally, Arron Hubbard provides drums and vocals. This is one hot band with an amazing set of skills and a lot of heart.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fear Cage
This is a very strong opener with their combo of both power jamming and prog factors balanced very well. But the overall prog sense shines thru a little more here because the lyrics are delivered so well by Jenson that one can easily hear there is a story within. They seem to drive this vehicle home with bone crushing ease and perfection, yet it contains a few rough edges that need no knocking off, as they provide an overall lack of polish to its already rough charm.
Gabriel's Hammer
There is a lot more of a chanting effect to these vocals, but the music takes off here with all kinds of stark changes in the arrangement as it goes. Of course, there is a story once again and it definitely owns the track, as it musically contrasts with the previous one and loses no steam in the process.
Depraved
Now this goes the distance in every department, as a real sense of protest enters the scene. I get an overall comical vibe here from the lyrics, as they possess both playful and serious elements. This could serve as their anthem, but others knowing them might disagree. So far, this contains the most energy displayed, and has a lot of moxy and sass to back it. I love this. It's absolutely killer!
Death Max
This is the most progressive track on offer to my ears, as they show the direction in which they seem to be headed. They display all of their diversity one one fell swoop here, as they burn through their most accessible tune, by far. This could mean one thing to one listener, and something else to another, but that's what a good rock song can do. That’s especially true with Kevin Hahn's spot on production skills. Where one might find these observations to bring out this band’s weakness, I find it to be an overall strength. It shows an underlying songwriting prowess that other tracks don't quite appear to really have, but of course this is still a matter of taste. I just happen to praise this one for containing those sensibilities and more.
The Snake (live)
This serves as the bonus track, and it's a live performance of what is yet another great piece. It offers up a good sample of what they ooze on stage, which is pure awesomeness.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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