The Sinister Guitar Lord of Sacramento CA James Perry returns with a long anticipated album which releases June 4th 2021. I’ve been a fan of the hard rock edge and dark overtones of Ashes Fallen for a while now. This new record finally fully embraces the goth aspects of the gothic rock. I feel like the scene has been so hungry for a voice of processive morals and guitar driven dark music. The other major step forward for this release is the collaboration heard on keyboard and additional guitars by Michelle and Jason. The seamless blend of these other voices in the song writing process really elevate and highlight the best aspects of James talent. The mastering by Gordan Young crackles with deep lines and definition. James voice has really found it’s internal confidence and writhes and strikes like a sea serpent bursting through phrases and throwing weight on those show stopping fretboard fireworks.
Top Tracks: Honestly this who album is a front to back jam with 10 strong tracks.
Vampira (The ballad of Maila) – A lovely tribute to the horror film icon. Both in the lyrical content but also the absolute face melting riff and gothabilly guitar tone. The vocals are attitude, snarl, and croon. Michelle adds in a lovely offset tone on the chorus which swells and solidifies. The back and forth guitar solos on the bridge are an absolute masterclass in movement and melody. This song is a 10 on the AFB scale. (Absolute Fuking Banger)
We Belong Nowhere – Filthy hard edge guitar intro. James has more of a chanting subtlety and blend with Michelle’s harmonies. The chorus is a beautiful hook that pays the first 6 months rent in advance on an apartment in your head. The soul and anguish of old school goth with the complexity and precision of King Crimson.
Overall: I was absolutely floored by the step forward this album took from a sound I already loved. I feel this record solidifies Ashes Fallen’s place as one of the premier voices in the modern gothic rock scene. This is not only a must have album of 2021, but one I strongly suggest getting on physical media. The album holds such layered and intricate texture, you will want to deconstruct it on your best sound system. I’m stoked to have the band on an upcoming episode of the Sounds and Shadows webcast.
One of the major changes in dark music I have seen and loved lately is that the genres keep getting more diverse and expansive to include non-traditional ones that now fall under the umbrella of “Goth/Industrial”. Here comes Ashes Fallen from Sacramento CA, putting the rock back in gothic rock. The lyrics are dark and intense but James Perry is a freaking guitar wizard and really lets that shine in a classic guitar heavy style. His voice is punchy with a bit of gutter growl and has more Judas Priest than it does Fields of the Nephilim. Yet you still hearing lines like “Crown of Ashes” while being lashed by the whip of blistering finger burning guitar solos.
Speaking of rock sounds, no electronic drums here. Nice clean driving snare snaps and toms booming like thunder. It’s something you just don’t hear as much of these days and it really gives a fresh feel that adds a lot of motion. I think this album creates such a big potential for crossover between standard rock fans and goth fans to find that place in the middle. It’s not an easy feat to ride that line but James and company have stayed on the crest of the wave and the effect is powerful.
So the album has 11 tracks and a bonus, lets talk about some standouts.
Blood Moon – The single track is so fierce in its frantic tempo and crunchy guitar riffs. The vocals have a really nice blend of rock cadence and chorus-rich goth sound. I love how it jumps around with those tiny touch finger tap riff that keep a heavy buzz.
Never Again – This track has this southern twang acoustic with a ferocious emotion in the vocals. It drips with regret until this sky splitter chorus change and pop hook. It puts me in mind of great rock ballads like Faster Pussycat with a lot of Nick Cave spit and vinegar. “I’ve gotta move on now no more tears”
Little Vampire – Subtle tiny notes on this lovely guitar riff. I love the swelling symphony strings. Look their is so much hard rock on this album but these ballads are what really hooked me in. James opens up his voice here into the high range and shows the beauty of his singing to match the guitar wizardry. Goth girls need love songs written about them too, and I am here for this.
Overall I feel like this record was something lost and made relevant. Because all gothic rock music was an offshoot of rock first. I love how much Ashes Fallen just leans into this and owns it. It has a lot of the raw feelings exposed in the lyrics, but a throwback feeling to big sounds and Marshall stack mentality that I think sometimes bands in this genre secretly like but shy away from embracing. Go listen and embrace it with them.