Bristolian New Gravers Ashestoangels are rewriting the rulebook on what it means to be busy. Spending the last year on tour with Aiden, they had their first taste of American soil and recorded their fourth album ‘How to Bleed’ in Seattle with friend and mentor William Control. It seems they are powered by the adrenaline of music, for they have also managed to release two music videos and self-release their album. With an appearance at Download festival later this year, it seems that the release of ‘How to Bleed’ cements the beginning of a great era for Ashestoangels.
The eclectic mix of tracks begins with ‘Horror Cult’: a message to the world who don’t know who Ashestoangels are, and a nod to the pre-existing fans affectionately referred to as the Horror Cult. The bouncy riffs and a Tim Burton quality to vocalist Adam Crilly’s voice is certainly an attention grabber, and a brilliant way to open the album.
‘How to Bleed’ singles ‘Not in My Name’ and ‘Find Hell’ follow with a similarly upbeat and anthemic tone. Crilly’s vocals in ‘Not in My Name’ in particular are intriguing; the screaming and singing combination showcases his range beautifully. This coupled with driving guitars and bass from Adam Falkor and Nico Venere respectively complement this rock classic perfectly.
Taking a turn down the slower route in ‘I Could Never Miss You’ and ‘Something to Believe’ means you get to hear Crilly’s voice in all its glory, and that’s nothing to complain about. At this point, drummer Jim Baber must be commended; he knows when to hold back in slower songs but can pack an almighty punch when it’s necessary. ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ and ‘I Remember When’ leads back into the mania that we are used to, particularly the screaming/singing combination in ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ adds to the hysteria of this album.
A sneaky smattering of synth in ‘Down We Go’ brings the album to a whole new level. It’s these unexpected surprises that keep you on your toes. If you listen closely to the lyrics throughout the album, it’s more than likely you will relate to at least one of them. ‘Bound and Broken’ is one such song and is really quite beautiful, the dark lyrical content coupled with upbeat guitar is inspiring.
As the album draws to a close, we are surprised yet again with ‘The Ghost in the Machine,’ a stripped back, piano led piece leaving us to appreciate Crilly’s voice yet again. The eponymous track ends the album on a rock filled note, with wonderful backing vocals from the band, it rounds it off spectacularly.
Ashestoangels achieve something quite remarkable with ‘How to Bleed’, a wonderful mix of songs jam packed with surprises. The quartet are much like the haunted houses at the funfair, you never know what’s around the next corner but it’s probably going to make you smile. They give you that giddy, nervous feeling with ‘How to Bleed’ and for that, we are grateful.
‘How to Bleed’ is out now.
This Ashestoangels article was written by Evie Myers, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.