Another band to add to the ‘shit, they’re only a three piece?!’ genre are the gargantuan sounding London based sludgesters Row Of Ashes. Armed with filthy, feral riffs and a blistering rhythm section, Row of Ashes have created an arresting, untamed beast of an album, that leaves an impressive first impression, reeling the listener back in for more.
Opening with the ferocious one, two hit of ‘Worcester Man’ and ‘Bleaching Heat’, the band really hit their stride on the angst ridden, cathartic slab of ‘Jerk’, a phenomenal track that pushes Chris Wilson’s powerful and raw vocals to fore. Wilson’s chugging bass lines are also bolstered wonderfully here too by the pounding rhythms of sticksman Dan Arrowsmith, whose work throughout the whole album helps create the band’s threatening, cavernous sound. When it comes to riffs, guitarist Will Duffin brings not only the caustic, thick guitar work to the table, but subtle atmospherics too, like on the menacing intros to ‘The Wreck And The Mill’, and the sinister ‘Contraband’ , the latter of which opens out into one of the Bleaching Heat’s most unrelenting and abrasive sections. Speaking of which, the ending to ‘The Next Away’, a track which gets progressively darker literally ends with a riff that sounds like buildings collapsing in on one another. Saving the best till last, the fittingly titled ‘In Summation’ closes the album, and features the band switching from one of their most introspective moments to utter carnage within a blink of an eye, demonstrating their absolute masterful handling of dynamics.
Shades of Portrayl of Guilt, Kalloon Walled City and Beastwars can all be heard here and there, but make no mistake, Row Of Ashes have their own almighty, unforgiving sound. And whilst the band revel in their ferocious, untamed sound, they never once sound sloppy or careless, everything here has been written and played with a snarling, passionate presion. Furthermore, it’s with each repeated listen that Bleaching Heat’s subtleties reveal themselves and the varying shades of darkness take on a richer life of their own.
Bleaching Heat is out 6th May via Surviving Sounds and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Firth