Up From The Ashes
8/19/2011 - Review by: Eric Compton
Damnit if James Hart isn't the best vocalist we've seen in ages! Those of you that know me or read my praise of Eighteen Visions should know the man. He fronted 'Visions for over a decade, culminating in what I deemed the best hard rock album since GNR's "Appetite" on the ST release in 2006. The stars and moon and all of that jazz never properly aligned and Hart was out of the band and fronting his part-time gone full-time act Burn Halo. The Orange County native crosses the Rockies to join band mates from Tulsa, Oklahoma making this a truly domestic export.
The 2009 self-titled effort from Burn Halo fell flat dead in my opinion. I think at the time Hart was still in part-time/side project mode and was still negotiation with Eighteen Visions on a possible fence fix. The album had good character, tons of attitude but was just washed out on bad production and lifeless writing. Now Hart and company are on track with what should have been the 'Visions record post 2006. Joining this sophomore effort is a band more in the pocket and groove, jamming and playing and having a great time with monster production qualities. My God this just slams from start to finish and sounds amazing on disc.
I can't help but think that if this thing was Swedish it would be huge. The US still doesn't know what to do with all of the great hard rock over the last few years. Look at Endeverafter and Operator and Neurotica (okay that's old now) and see the absolute misplacement and mismanagement of great hard rock acts that are caught somewhere off track and far from a home base (Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland). Burn Halo will go down that same route and find audiences to play to but never on air. Regardless this album is full of attitude and bruising tunes that are captivated and highlighted by Hart's amazing vocal style. "Up From The Ashes" as a whole sounds like a really great Kik Tracee record or maybe the brush strokes of what Tesla should be now. Just listen to the huge drum calling on "Stranded" or the bombastic blast of "I Won't Back Down" or "Dakota". You can hear the strokes of melody up front and in charge and you can brace yourself for down tuned heaviness that up-converts into huge solos and lead work. Damn I'm just blown away at how good this sounds and how refreshing it is. Should hard rock in 2011 sound like this? YES, a resounding YES! Bring me more!
California is kicking my ass from Avenged Sevenfold to Papa Roach to these guys. Europe...who the Hell needs 'em.
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