Burn Halo | Up From the Ashes
by Nikiforos Skoumas
Up From the Ashes is the brand new, second album by American hard rock band Burn Halo. Up From the Ashes could be regarded as the natural successor to their debut, once again bringing to front their groove-meets-melody approach. Along these lines you can expect thick riffs, groovy bodies, followed by melodic verses and catchy choruses.
The line-up features lead singer James Heart, guitarists Joey Roxx and Brandon Lynn, bassist Aaron Boehler and drummer Dillon Ray. The performances on Up From the Ashes are intense and fairly aggressive while retaining their radio friendly essence, which is mostly due to the album’s contemporary production qualities. The vocals are up-front in the mix while the harmonies effectively take over the grooves when the verses and choruses kick in. Their mainstream appeal owes a lot to their lead singer who sounds like a mixture of Chad Kroeger and James Hetfield.
In essence Burn Halo attempt to mix the riffs of classic rock ’n roll with the staccato rhythm of contemporary heavy metal all under a modern-as-it-gets production. It has to be said that Burn Halo succeed at blending the two rock sub genres although the end result is not as exiting as one would expect, that is until the verses and choruses come to play.
The power ballads are actually very well crafted with far more substance than one would expect from a radio-directed tune. Still it is possible that the radio friendly approach prevents the band from adding multiple instrumental layers to their songs which would make the end result more intense and intriguing; especially if you consider that a classic rock ’n roll riff will welcome just about any guitar lead or keyboard melody. On the other hand, one has to address that lead guitarist Joey Cuhna shines on each and every solo though far from being the protagonist musician on the album.
It is easy to see the potential of the songs on Up From the Ashes, but the experienced listener will probably be able to trace that there is certainly room on the compositions for more performances; from twin guitar melodies, background keyboards, to backing vocals, it becomes apparent that Burn Halo could have added more and would have been for the benefit of their new album. The best example of the could-have-been approach envisioned here is the closing track of the album “Shine” which includes everything from acoustic intros, to atmospheric keyboards to melodic wah-wah guitars and challenging rhythm section, providing a clear picture of how Up From the Ashes could have sounded. Instead the group chose to simplify their material which on one hand strengthens their mainstream appeal but on the other hand hinders their uniqueness.
Overall Up From the Ashes is a solid modern hard rock release with undeniable mainstream potential; bound to appeal to a wider audience that the defined rock-metal community though definitely prioritizing song-writing over performance.
Genre: Modern Hard Rock
James Hart – lead vocals
Joey Roxx – lead guitar
Brandon Lynn – rhythm guitar
Aaron Boehler – bass
Dillon Ray – drums, percussion
1. “Tear It Down”
2. “Up from the Ashes”
4. “Threw It All Away”
6. “Stuck in a Rut”
7. “Give Me a Sign”
9. “Rest My Soul”
10. “I Won’t Back Down”
12. “We Won’t Live Forever” (iTunes bonus track)
Band website: http://www.burnhalo.com/
Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10