Formed in 2009, Eastbourne’s City Of Ashes have been impressively touring with the likes of Yashin and Shadows Chasing Ghosts, steadily building a name for themselves before now finally releasing their debut EP, ‘Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness’. The emotion fuelled record combines elements of Thursday and early Funeral For A Friend to create an array of cliché lyrics about heartbreak, moody power chords and some more lyrics about heartbreak.
The main hook for ‘Beggars & Thieves’ triggers some potential for the track, especially when the impressive vocals kick in varying between clean and harsh, but it unfortunately falls into an all too familiar tedious chorus of misery and despair. ‘A Calm Like Lethargy’ follows a similar pattern of encouragement throughout the song, before a completely unnecessary spoken word bridge ruins proceedings.
Not all is doomed during ‘The Highest Point Of Living’, however, as Orion Powell has a chance to show off his set of pipes throughout the ballad, sounding impressively similar to Silverstein‘s own Shane Told.
‘Hourglass’ continues with a slow tone, before a crescendo reminds the listener of Thrice but slowly peters out towards the end. All of the catchiness in this EP was left to lead single, ‘Falling Star’, which, although having some questionably gloomy lyrics, has a stand out chorus which will be stuck in your head, whether you like it or not.
‘Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness’ does have some exciting highlights, but too many flaws drag it down to being a mediocre emo record. The whole thing is just too over the top sad and depressing. Hopefully, City Of Ashes will find something fun in their lives to write about, but for now, this is probably best saved for listening to when you’re going through a soppy break-up.
Written by Michael Heath