Review Summary: To be fair Burn Halo aren’t entirely unpleasant sounding or unequivocally atrocious, so at least they’ve got that going for them.
It’s incredibly generic to talk about how Goddamn generic a generic mainstream rock album can be, but we’re going to do it anyway because it’s really the only way to describe Burn Halo’s new exercise in unabashed rock mediocrity. For the uninitiated Burn Halo is a hard rock band who tries really hard to be Buckcherry but ends up sounding like a watered down Shinedown/Rev Theory/Hinder/pick your paint by numbers rock band whose main goal is to land a “rock” song and ballad per album on the radio and make a few bucks. Their last album had a quasi-hit called “Dirty Little Girl” which attempted to ape “Crazy Bitch,” and while it wasn’t even close to as deliciously tongue-in-cheek as that guilty pleasure anthem it was fun enough to earn the band some steam and apparently guarantee them another record. It probably took them about 3 minutes to select the song titles for “Up From the Ashes” as monikers like “Alone,” “Shine,” “Stranded,” and “I Won’t Back Down” have been used approximately 7,201 times in the history of music, and just about every single lyric revolves around rudimentary concepts like going nowhere fast by living in the past, walking through the door and how they’ve seen it before, and how sometimes their lives are a bore and don’t even know the f*cking score.
To be fair Burn Halo aren’t entirely unpleasant sounding or unequivocally atrocious, so at least they’ve got that going for them. “Tear It Down,” and “Dakota” are the two singles they’ve put out and are decent rockers that will probably do enough to earn them album number three, but when that time comes they will be faced with the same problem that about 80% of their record sounds like it was written in a name-your-cliché rock factory. There’s nothing wrong with a verse/chorus/verse/bridge formula, but there is a problem when just about every song sounds the same and that sound is one step above sucking ass. The vanilla radio-rock listener who doesn’t mind that Burn Halo has borrowed not one, but two song titles from Heart and one each from Tom Petty, Collective Soul, The Darkness, and Def Leppard might find this palatable. It’s difficult to discern whether “Up From the Ashes” is some kind of metaphor for achieving redemption or if it was an album title they picked from randomly throwing darts at a board of rock clichés, but hopefully next time they come up with something more original or their career might go tits-up quickly. Maybe Burn Halo notices how Buckcherry is still touring despite releasing a total of 2 good songs in 12 years and simply doesn’t care, but it’s a shame as they sound like they can do better than this if they actually tried.