Exclusive Review: From Ashes to New – Downfall

Downfall EP - Digital Artwork
Artist: From Ashes to New
Album: Downfall
Rating: 5/5

Track List:
1. “Downfall”
2. “Lost and Alone”
3. “Land of Make Believe”
4. “Through It All”

Central PA’s From Ashes to New is a band that New Transcendence has been following for quite some time. You may remember our exclusive review of their explosive self-titled, debut EP last year. There is not a single song by this band that doesn’t have some emotional connection with a listener. These guys take rap, rock and electronic elements and blend them in a way that you have to hear to believe. Many people compared them to Hollywood Undead and Linkin Park when they first hit the scene. Now that they’re releasing new music, I believe they’re going to get away from that, creating a sound truly their own. They’ve went through a slight line-up change since which, honestly, has strengthened their music ten-fold! Their new EP, Downfall, serves as a bridge between their debut and a Summer release of their upcoming debut, full-length album. They also signed to Eleven Seven Music subsidiary, Better Noise Records! My favorite thing about the EP, from the start, is the fact that the 2 vocalists (Chris Musser and Matt Brandyberry) seem to have more equaled-out appearances on this EP. The EP will be streaming tomorrow, March 2nd and will be available for purchase on March 10th but if you want to know what to expect… let’s dive in, shall we?

We are met with the title track/lead single, “Downfall”, which proves from the get-go that these guys haven’t lost their spark. What is this track about? It’s a track about all the would-be doubters out there, it’s a track about surviving in general, but especially in the music industry. It’s also a track that speaks from the heart telling you that, if they can get through what they’ve been through, any one can… never stop reaching for your dreams. “We all fall down sometimes and it makes it hard to believe, we can learn to somehow survive, no matter how much we bleed!” as Musser sings these words, you feel a sense of empowerment, you feel like you can take on the world… you truly feel like your life is worth something. That’s what this track serves to signify. Instrumentally, this track shows how strong the new line-up is together, the drums are perfectly timed, guitarists Dan Kecki and Branden “Boo” Kreider trade out lead and rhythm, perfectly backing each other up when called for. What I love most particularly about this track, though, is the keyboard parts offered by Brandyberry. Check out the track below and let us/them know what you think!

This EP is relentless from beginning to end, as they’d say “all killer, no filler”. The second track, “Lost and Alone” is the first to feature more than just background screams, adding a new level of aggression to this already incredible band. From the beginning of the track, though, you’ll never see it coming… it starts off on a slightly softer note with Musser singing throughout the majority of the song. Then a breakdown floors you, seeing both Musser and Kreider trading off screams (Kreider being the higher scream, Musser being the lower). Lyrically, this is a track about feeling alone in the world. That unrelenting, hopeless feeling that we’ve all had when we’ve been in our darkest days. While you hear little to none of Brandyberry’s vocals on this one, his keyboard is still very prominent on this track. This is definitely one of my favorites because of my emotional connection with it.

“Land of Make Believe” comes in with full force, centering mainly around Brandyberry’s raps this time. This track is about exposing the pretenders, “you think you’re special, you think I have to follow you, just quit you’re guessing… I’m not the person you assume!”. You should never judge a book by it’s cover or make the mistake of underestimating your rivals/enemies because that’s how you get left in the dirt. One of my favorite lyrics on the album because of the context of this track is “and when the ashes rest, you’ll see… I’ve torn you from your land of make believe”. We’ve all met those people who think that they’re better than everyone, think that you have to follow in their footsteps or you’ll never make it anywhere. In essence, the high and mighty people in the industry (be it musicians, producers, execs, etc) who have that sense of entitlement because they’ve paved a path for themselves but let the stardom get to their heads. This is a track about paving your own path and showing those people that you don’t need them to succeed! Never stop until you hit the top then you’ll be head-to-head with the very people who doubted you, knocking them off of their throne.

The last track, “Through It All”, takes a darker turn. It more or less focuses on the same theme as “Downfall” did, going through things to get to where you are today but this one seems to be specifically about a failed relationship. From experience, it’s likely this track was written during a night time writing session, when you can’t turn your brain off, no matter how hard you try. “Through it all you changed me, I’m not the same me. For better or for worse, this person that you made me. Through it all you changed me, I’m not the same me. For better or for worse you changed me forever!” If you’ve ever been through a seemingly perfect relationship, despite any downfalls you may have shared, having it abruptly end can really leave an emotional scar… and that scar won’t go away. Despite the pain, you push through… doing all you can to get through each day. This is what this song focuses on. This track is easily the “slowest” track on the album, given it’s dark nature… it’s not a ballad, by any means, but it definitely has that feeling of finding hope during the darkest of times.

From Ashes to New have once again proved that they break the mold in this industry. Blending rap, rock, metal and electronics is not a simple feat… especially in this day and age where elitist opinions are all that seem to matter. You will find yourself a fan of FATN after listening to 30 seconds of this EP, if this is your first venture into their territory and, equally, if you’re an established “Ember Nation” recruit… you’ll fall deeper in love with what they’re doing. Check out Downfall when it streams tomorrow, purchase it on March 10th and catch the guys supporting Hollywood Undead on their “Day of the Dead” album release tour, along with their appearances on South By So What?!, Welcome to Rockville and Rock On the Range this year (all tour dates below)!

w/Hollywood Undead:
3/09 — Philadelphia, Pa. — Underground Arts
3/10 — Boston, Mass. — Brighton Music Hall
3/11 — New York, N.Y. — Gramercy Theatre
3/13 — Poughkeepsie, N.Y. — The Chance
3/14 — New Haven, Conn. — Toad’s Place
3/15 — Baltimore, Md. — Soundstage
3/17 — Chicago, Ill. — Bottom Lounge
3/18 — Minneapolis, Minn. — Fine Line Music Cafe
3/20 — Denver, Colo. — Marquis
3/21 — Salt Lake City, Utah — Murray Theatre
3/30 — Los Angeles, Calif. — Troubadour

South By So What?!
3/22 — Grand Prairie, TX

Welcome to Rockville
4/25 — Jacksonville, FL

Rock on the Range
5/15 — Columbus, OH

From Ashes to New is:
Matt Brandyberry (Vocals/Guitar/Keys/Programming)
Chris Musser (Vocals)
Dan Kecki (Guitar)
Branden “Boo” Kreider (Guitar/Vocals)
Garrett Russell (Bass, Boyish Good Looks)
Tim D’onofrio (Drums)