Glass and Ashes - Glass and Ashes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Glass and Ashes

Glass and Ashes (2008)

No Idea

Glass and Ashes have laid a plenty abrasive sound across their first few releases, and by self-titling their second full-length, one would think they'd have achieved the peak success of their formula here. Glass and Ashes is solid, engaging and confrontational upon its active listening state, but mostly forgettable moments after.

The album continues to take the band's signature, distorted, thick gravel and push it into rocking, uptempo territory with shades of punk rock, legit screamo, hardcore and rock 'n' roll -- like the oft-compared Planes Mistaken for Stars on a Turbonegro and Rocket from the Crypt kick. If a listener could ever preview a band's vocals only by their name, Glass and Ashes continue to be a prime example; they don't exactly roar with a typical No Idea grit, but rather an even more incomprehensible, shard-laden yelp of desperation. That's always been their M.O. and it seems to reach near-perfection here.

Things are also held together by their cynical, characteristically dark and literate lyrical matter: "Fortify false predictions, satisfy fits of conniptions. Jaws bite down, elements split, retinas unite on the floor, they play pretend. It presents the trend that feeds their deep end; it's just a pretense." While the 'roll' part of the band's sound does give an occasionally upbeat vibe, most of the album manages to convey moods matching the anguished words being yelled.

However, the simple fact is that there's not a large amount to sink one's teeth into. The bellowed hollers and chord changes of tracks like "We Will Hang for This" and "Count Back from Ten" are animated and certainly lively, but might benefit from more blatant dynamics and more experimental production. Side project Young Livers pretty much nailed this idea on their "full-length" last year by giving the right amounts of melody at just the right time, as well a (somewhat-)soft/loud approach that just worked. On the raucous, emotional and guitar wailing "Bird's Eye View," or the entirely more restrained "Alpha State," they come awful close to achieving such a thing, but it's not quite there.

Despite Glass and Ashes failing to live up to their potential, by no means is the record a bad listen. Nuh-uh. Taking attentive listens for flung bass dirges and creative riff pull-offs and being simultaneously overwhelmed by the frontmen's loose intensity is definitely a worthwhile time...just not the experience promised by their development.

Glass and Ashes