As part of an ongoing obsessive effort to completely corner the market on any and all things related to crusty punk, Southern Lord offers up this 7” EP from the re-risen From Ashes Rise. Originally formed in Nashville in the late 1990s, From Ashes Rise relocated to Portland, Oregon in the early 2000s, alongside fellow Tennessee emigrants Tragedy, with whom they shared a bassist at the time. After 2003’s stellar Nightmares, From Ashes Rise split up in 2005 – reuniting in 2010 for scattered shows, including a spot at that year’s Maryland Deathfest. Now, two years later, the two songs that comprise this EP are the first new recordings from these guys that have been released in nearly a decade.
So how do they hold up?
Pretty damn good, actually. I’ve not heard the band’s entire discography, but I have 1999’s Life And Death EP and Nightmares, both of which I greatly enjoy. On Nightmares in particular, From Ashes Rise was great at blending hardcore fury with melody and dissonant guitar voicings, and Rejoice The End / Rage Of Sanity shows that they haven’t lost that knack.
“Rejoice The End” particularly shines – it’s catchy, memorable, anthemic, but not corny or anything less than honest and exhilarating. The chiming clean guitar chords that signal a small breakdown at the 3:00 mark offer a brief respite before the band returns for another two minutes’ worth of fist-and-middle-finger-in-the-air hardcore. It’s virtually impossible to hear “Rejoice The End” and not bang your head or tap your foot, to not get caught up in the insistent and persistent propulsion, to not sing along to the chanted tag of “The end, the end / rejoice, rejoice / the end, the end / embrace, embrace.”
B-side “Rage Of Sanity” is more straight-ahead, bringing in a Motorhead-ish driving rock attack. At two minutes, it’s half the length of its brother, but it’s less of a melodic hardcore epic and more to the point, assuming the point is simply rocking the hell out. (And it always is, really, isn’t it?) In the elements that comprise both tunes, and in fact in the dichotomy of the two, lie all the pieces that make up the punk glory of From Ashes Rise’s aesthetic.
It’s hard to base too much of a judgment upon two songs and eight minutes, but these tracks are both killer, and that’s certainly a good thing. Rejoice The End / Rage Of Sanity may only be a pair of songs, but those two songs make up a damn fine re-introduction. It’s been ten years since the last tunes, but it sounds like no time at all. Welcome back, boys; it’s been too long.