Phoenix Rising: Back From Ashes Breaks New Ground With 261

CD review by Jordan Brandes

Back From Ashes - When You Fall

Back From Ashes logoLike a mythical creature ready to take on the world the metal band Back From Ashes emerges onto the hard rock music scene like the phoenix so aptly featured on the band’s logo.

It is no surprise that the band chose the Phoenix to represent the spirit of the band. Founded in 2003 by lead singer Jason Hobel and guitarist Mike Butikofer the band went through a variety of changes before finalizing their lineup in 2007. By 2008 the band was already winning awards such as the best heavy metal band of the year and hard rock band of the year at the Star Music Awards.

But it is the music that speaks for itself. With a sound reminiscent of Korn, Seether and more classical influences like Warrant and the L.A. Guns the band pays respect to those that have come before yet isn’t afraid to pioneer a new direction in their music.

Back From Ashes 261 CD Cover

Back From Ashes "261" CD Cover

On 261, the band’s most recent release on their self-titled label, the group tears it up right out of the gate. Wasting no time the first track “When You Fall” plays it fast and loud with a crisp, multi-layered sound rarely heard in a good portion of the metal bands on the scene today. The guitar solo by Butikofer is one of the shining points on the song as the band isn’t afraid to bring back the long-forgotten solo that was once a crucial part of the metal scene.

Back From Ashes ability to play with the multiple styles opens the doors for many future opportunities with the band. On tracks like “Tightrope” you can really hear the talent of Pete Hawley coming out in full force complimenting the heavy guitars throughout.

One should note that the album isn’t afraid to slow it down a notch or two sometimes veering off into ballad territory. Keep in mind this is not a band thing, if anything it makes Back From Ashes all the more unique. Ballads were once commonplace in the metal world but fell out of style as the scene became louder and harder. Which is not to say that the album slows down completely while the lead singer belts out poetry, not at all, but they are smart enough to occasionally slow the album down only to build it up again into multiple, heavy hitting climaxes.

A good album should be like going on a long journey. It is the hope of every band that you will feel changed by the end each album that you hear. Back From Ashes accomplishes that far better than most. Filled with raw emotion and passion “261” shows that the band is full of surprises. Like a phoenix rising Back From Ashes has shown that they can take on anything.

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