Formed in Nashville, Tennessee during the mid-‘90s American crust punk swell, From Ashes Rise later relocated to their current base in Portland, Oregon, where alongside fellow scene forerunners His Hero Is Gone, Tragedy and Hellshock, they helped cast the prototype for modern-day “epic crust punk”—a big sound that, while still rooted in anarcho-minded lyricism, apocalyptic imagery and D-beat, displays a noticeable focus on song structure; its hallmarks being slowish gloom, surging crescendos and crushing breakdowns. Amid a persistent touring schedule, the four-piece have released three full-length records and a surplus of splits and EPs. However, it’s been nine years since From Ashes Rise last released any new material. (Their highly extolled Jade Tree LP Nightmares came out in 2003.) It’s clear from listening to their brand new two-song Southern Lord 7” Rejoice the End b/w Rage of Sanity though, that the formula hasn’t changed much in the interim. Whether that's a good thing or not is still to be determined.
On side A, “Rejoice the End” is a lengthier song (around five minutes) on par with any number of their previous releases—cresting waves of political-charged, emotive and melodic hardcore awash over metallic underpinnings, filling every audible nook and cranny. In typical From Ashes Rise fashion, it’s impossible to ignore the urge to do that hunched-shoulders-pounding-an-imaginary-nail-with-your-fist thing and sing along, “Rejoice!/The end!/Rejoice the end!” It’s fairly straightforward, as far as epic crust goes, but raging nonetheless.
And then just as things are getting heated up, the flipside comes and the enthusiasm just sort of fizzles out. “Rage of Sanity” is a simplistic uninspired Motorhead-like regurgitation, complete with a second vocalist doing his best Lemmy imitation. It’s the kind of track that might make for decent album filler, but as one of only two new songs in nearly a decade, is quite disappointing and doesn’t make much of a case for repeated play.
With Southern Lord’s recent propensity for scooping up the biggest names in crust punk, it's probably safe to assume this 7” is a precursor to a new album. And if so, well, there is at least a fifty percent chance it will be worth the wait. Of course that means there is an equal chance that it won’t be.
5.0 / 10
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