Following on from 2018’s ‘The Future’, nu-metal throwbacks From Ashes To New are back with their third album, ‘Panic’. They’ve amassed a healthy following within their time as a band, but one song is arguably all you need to hear from them.
The very second you press play, you get the most clichéd, programmed-sounding woah-woah vocal hook for ‘Scars That I’m Hiding’, which very much sets the tone. This could easily pass as a Linkin Park song, but not for the first time, the over-production gives it a very homogenised, stale feel.
And ‘Brick’ even copies the Mike Shinoda/Chester Bennington dynamics to a tee. Emblematic of many bands to emerge recently, there’s a use of enough distorted guitars for rock outlets to cover it, but also surface-level pop influences to not seem too dangerous for some.
‘What I Get’ has another lazy, hackneyed chorus, with an admittedly impressive guitar solo, as is the case for some other songs, but that’s the result of a desperate dive into this abyss of mediocrity for something to cling onto. The formula used becomes predictable very quickly, too.
Genre-pollination isn’t inherently a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing on principle. The problem is, this type of genre-pollination is less of an ambitious experiment and more of a rehash of what’s already been done. Compared to acts like The Prodigy and Enter Shikari, the difference is very much night and day.
‘SideFX’ at least has an interesting synth line, albeit underneath a very over-produced vocal, and the chorus is a bit more enjoyable this time round, and at least this song slightly stands out.
The lyrical content is largely very frank and vulnerable, which is at least a consistently positive aspect of the album. ‘Bulletproof’ showcases this quality, but at the same time, there does not need to be the sound of a gun cocking.
‘Nothing’ is another case study of Shinoda and Bennington rather than an actual song, as if From Ashes To New are actually content with the constant comparisons already being made. When some bands seem to only have been influenced by Bring Me The Horizon and Linkin Park, you have to wonder how records like this get such far-reaching traction.
No doubt this will be billed as an experimental, daring record in some quarters, but when you’re doing a carbon copy of household names, you’re fooling nobody. Much like the album, you’re running out of ideas for things to say about it. 35 minutes isn’t a long time on paper, but it certainly feels much longer.
For ‘Panic’, you’ll have to already be a From Ashes To New fan, or not be sick to death of the countless bands rammed down your throat of the last ten years, to get any enjoyment out of this incredibly generic and forgettable album.