Out of Ashes by Dead by Sunrise

 

Like any side project, Dead by Sunrise was sure to get a solid fanbase before it’s debut release. But when Linkin Park lead vocalist Chester Bennington put the record off year after year since it’s inception in 2005, it probably gathered a lot more during it’s dormancy. Then came Minutes to Midnight by the California rockers, which was a ‘Chester album’ for the most part and thus an ideal precursor for fans to venture into soft-rock territory on Out of Ashes.

 

Not a record that oozes instrumental or vocal creativity, Out of Ashes does well to have a love-it or hate-it dual genre theme going for it. The heavier, grungier tracks like the addictive Crawl Back In and the opening Fire fade well in their closing moments to cleverly segue into the lighter ones that follow them. Over thirteen tracks consistency this is not, but such an ebb and flow keep things interesting and unexpected for a possibly forced second or third listen.

 

Me, I’ve listened to the record around a dozen times and for the most part it does have some good writing, if a little basic. Fans who steer clear of brash, louder tunes will love this album. The average rock listener will find something to like as well, especially in polished efforts such as Let Down and Too Late, though he should expect nothing too groundbreaking. You could say the same thing for acoustic and rhythm guitarists, though they’ll be disappointed by the minimal level of experimentation going on in the percussion-ing in the background, throughout.

 

Listening to the entire album can prove to be a drag if you’re not too into the genre to begin with. Fire is a strong starter, but post the first few moments this intensity pops back in only when the clock is half-way through, at My Suffering which to it’s credit, makes use of some much-needed electronica. In the meantime, you’re treated to some typical Howard Benson produced gloss in ballad-ish efforts like Give me Your Name. That’s not to say that it’s bad, mind you. The Walking in Circles-In the Darkness closer duo are also ballads of sorts but perhaps not the best way to end an album that began with a bang on Fire and Crawl Back In up front. Which is why the choice of a bonus track in Morning After is a neat one.

 

The lyrics go on a definite upswing in the latter half with some political overtures in End of the World (“When you can’t buy gas and can’t pay rent”, “And what you’ve got left is the government”). The preceding Into You refrains from this however and prefers to remain in the quieter mold, but with a slightly less lightly polished aura in comparison to the slick synths in the Let Downs placed ahead of it on the tracklist.

 

TRACKLIST:
#1. Fire 3:50
#2. Crawl Back In 3:03
#3. Too Late 2:59
#4. Inside of Me 2:18
#5. Let Down 3:58
#6. Give Me Your Name 4:56
#7. My Suffering 2:59
#8. Condemned 2:37
#9. Into You 3:23
#10. End of the World 3:56
#11. Walking in Circles 4:43
#12. In the Darkness 5:24
iTunes Edition Bonus Track:
#13. Morning After 3:29

 

PERSONNEL:
Chester Bennington: Lead Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer
Amir Derakh: Guitar, Programming
Ryan Shuck: Guitar, Synthesizer, Beatbox

 

PRODUCER:
Howard Benson

 

DATE OF RELEASE:
October 13, 2009

 

SINGLES:
Crawl Back In
Let Down
Inside of Me
Too Late

 

While Out of Ashes may not be a guaranteed crowd-puller as The Rising Tied was, it still has pleasant tunes aplenty, enough to fulfill the average soft-rock listener’s appetite for a Howard Benson alternative-rock offering with a dash of electronica. They can look forward for more too; as the three-piece look to write more stuff in future unlike Mike Shinoda and Fort Minor.

 

A tough album to review, this but there’s not much you can write off with condemnation about it. Save for the poor choice of a couple of singles maybe. Inside of Me is clearly not the tracklist’s highlight in any way, shape or form. Crawl Back In has a nice retro feel about it, but it’s yet a gamble for a lead single for a record that espouses a ton of music outside of that song’s soundscape. I’ll give it the benefit of the 3.5 doubt with a four star rating. Cheers.

 

 

 

 

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