Brighton 4-piece City of Ashes crashed onto the scene back in 2013 with their debut album All We Left Behind, an emotional offering that has seen the band go on to share stages with the likes of Fei Comodo, Young Guns and Skindred in the following years. Fast forward 3 years and they’re back with album number 2 – Rise.
Opening with ‘Uprising‘ was a master stroke; a track that sort of acts as a prelude with Orion Powell’s vocals striking deep, accompanied with some good old gang vocals for good measure. As you delve deeper into the album, the easiest comparison to make is that to 30 Seconds To Mars, especially obvious on ‘Battles of my Youth‘ for me.
As a punk kid at heart, the angst at the root of ‘Viper’s Nest‘ makes the track stand out to me particularly, with a big “fuck you” to the keyboard warriors of this 21st century.
An atmospheric sound is at the forefront through, giving real meaning to the title of the album. The band’s ability to write relatable and understandable songs is their biggest talent however, with tracks such as ‘Walk Away‘ and ‘Save Me‘ giving the feeling that these songs come from real life experiences. Tracks with more brooding agendas such as ‘Battles Of My Youth‘ and ‘We Own The Night‘ give a new intense view of the album, and they work alongside the lighter tracks perfectly.
This album is good, but unremarkable on first listen. However when you return to it, you’ll find yourself doing just that over and over again. Some excellent songwriting, if unpolished, and strong musicianship throughout shows that City of Ashes have found ‘their sound’ and they’re executing it throughout this second album. If you’re a fan of big sound and lyrics that appeal to both your light-hearted and moody side, then you need to pop this offering on your playlist.