Review Summary: Like a picture of heaven while i've been sitting in hell
It's probably very clear to anyone who comes even remotely close to rock radio nowadays that From Ashes To New
are far from the most original band on the planet (especially considering the general consensus is that they're a shameless ripoff of Linkin Park), but originality is far from the only thing that makes an album great. The perfectly-named-in-these-times third effort from the aforementioned band, Panic
, is largely proof of that; you sure as hell know you aren't getting the pinnacle of god-tier rock compositions, so why not cut loose and enjoy some harmless by-the-numbers nu-metalcore?
sees From Ashes To New settle in with a very different lineup than the band that recorded Day One
four years ago. While The Future
was very much a transitional album, the break between said album and Panic
was just what they needed for the second incarnation of the band to kick into gear; everyone is a hell of a lot more comfortable, and it shows; there's far more energy and aggression present in the music this time around, which are both a large amount of why From Ashes To New are an enjoyable band in the first place. Another notable bonus is that this time around, it's a tad bit more pop than the band's previous efforts; stylistically speaking, Panic
is largely what would happen if Meteora
, One More Light
and Starset had a kid. Matt Brandyberry's rapping continues to improve; he certainly isn't the best, but he flows rather nicely and can churn out some good bars when he's really trying. Singer/screamer Danny Case has opted to not continue previous singer Chris Musser's soul-less Chester Bennington aping in favor of trying his damndest to be his own man, which surprisingly works out exceptionally well. Brandyberry and Case play off each other rather nicely, and it enhances the overall experience.
The instrumentalists and lyrics here are simply serviceable; Lance Dowdle and Mat Madiro are content to stay within their comfort zones, which is not unexpected for a release such as this, but they manage to give us some competent backing music that compliments the two vocalists very well, while the lyrics are the standard emotional nu-metalcore fare that certainly isn't awful
, but rather tired. It's in the production department where Panic
truly suffers, with old friendly tropes such as brickwalling and bass muting; Erik Ron continues to take two steps backwards and tumble down a steep slope despite only appearing on two songs (the title track and "Wait For Me"), which is a shame considering he can do a good job when he wants to, while the producer for the remainder of the album, Colin Brittain, does absolutely nothing to seperate himself from the rest of the pack.
Despite being by-the-numbers, Panic
succeeds for being the product of a band that's still relatively young and energetic. It's highly unlikely that From Ashes To New will ever release something truly original, but lets face it: no one goes to rock radio for originality, and they do what they do very well. It's a damn fun record despite it's dark subject matter, and fun is something that's especially needed in the crazy time we're in right now.