I’m sure I heard of From Ashes to New before the release of Panic, no doubt referred to as a new standard bearer for modern nü-metal. When they dropped their video for the first, eponymous single from this album, I thought they were pretty good and yes, they reminded me of Linkin Park. Uncannily so, in fact.
This made my reaction to Panic a little unfair, I’ll admit, but it is simply impossible to not think of From Ashes to New’s obvious primary influence.
The band, founded by Matt Brandyberry (not a hobbit), recalls Linkin Park both vocally and musically (minus the DJ scratching and more electronic elements). In fact, pretty much every song on this album recalls some of Linkin Park’s best songs from their first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, but with the polish and sheen of LP’s later albums. Brandyberry’s raps, in particular, are often uncannily similar to Mike Shinoda’s vocals. The fact that Chester Bennington had such a distinctive, powerful voice does create some distance with FATN, because Danny Case, while a fine singer, can’t match Chester’s brilliance. Case does, however, do a great impression of Chester’s screams in “Panic”:
In addition to Linkin Park, there were moments that reminded me of Hollywood Undead (circa Swan Songs and American Tragedy), for example on “Brick”. There was one surprising, unexpected moment: the rhythm, flow and melodies of certain parts of “Bulletproof” reminded me of a song from Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton, but I can’t put my finger on which one exactly.
For the most part, it works, but it feels recycled. Which is a shame. With the exception of “Panic” and “Scars That I’m Hiding” (both songs that have been added to my everyday playlist), the album ends up sounding like nü-metal elevator music — one can easily imagine it featuring in the background of a Matrix-type movie.
A new version of “Scars That I’m Hiding” has been released, featuring a guest appearance from In Flames’ Anders Fridén (video below) — one of my favourite vocalists. This version should have been on the album, because it’s better and more interesting than the original (which is still good). The production and sound quality across the album is top notch: clean, polished, and very modern.
Many times over my repeat listens to Panic, I had flashbacks to times and places when I was listening to Linkin Park’s albums. “Shit, that sounds like…” was a phrase on my lips and in my mind so many times when listening to the album. The thing is, though, that it’s not always possible to pinpoint a single Linkin Park song that this or that From Ashes To New cut is reminiscent of. Rather, FATN throw in so many elements that could be from multiple LP singles. It’s as if the writers decided, “Well, I like this bit and this bit, so let’s just mash them together into a single song.” This might be why they feel recycled: the picking and choosing of the best bits from Linkin Park (and a dash of Hollywood Undead), attempting to forge something new. However, like a car that’s been cobbled together from pieces and panels of others, you can see the origins, maybe it runs well, but it still isn’t a new car.
Upon repeat listens, I guess I’m left with the following question: why would I listen to Panic when I could just as easily put on Hybrid Theory and Meteora?
From Ashes to New’s Panic is out now, released via Better Noise Records. Here’s the Track Listing:
- Scars That I’m Hiding
- What I Get
- Wait For Me
- Death Of Me
- Change My Past