From Ashes to New were first formed in 2013 by founding member and frontman Matt Brandyberry, who had dreamed of being a rapper since writing rhymes in high school, where he learned to play the piano and guitar, ignoring those who told him he wasn’t cut out to be in the music business and to get a proper job. As Brandyberry knuckled down to a regular job in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it seemed that music was not destined to be his first choice in careers, leaving his love for music for evenings and weekends. Then an opportunity arose for him to fund the initial From Ashes to New (FATN) recordings that made people sit up and take notice! After this, Brandyberry overcame a massive hurdle after the first album, when several band members left at the same time, resulting in the present line-up of Brandyberry on vocals/guitar/keys/programming, Danny Case on clean vocals, Lance Dowdle on guitar and Mat Madiro on drums.
The band’s second album, ’The Future’ was written at Brandyberry’s home studio, recorded at Atrium Audio with producers Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland (August Burns Red), Nick ‘Raz’ Furlong and Colin Brittain (Papa Roach) and mixed by Josh Wilbur (Korn, Lamb of God). It has just been released on Better Noise Records and is being backed up by an extensive tour of the US.
‘The Future’ has, for the most part, got a theme running all the way through it, that of relationships. Album opener ‘Wake Up’, beginning with the line, “How do you sleep when you’re nothing but a fake?” which lures the listener gently at first before ordering a full-on assault on the senses. The lyrics seem to be directing someone to wake up and see that they’re just going through the motions in a relationship. It’s full of heavy rock riffs, has a ridiculously catchy chorus, and the combination of rapping from Brandyberry and clean vocals from Case act like a double alarm clock, and I’m most definitely awake!
Next up it’s first single from the album, ’Crazy’, the video for which can be seen on the band’s website. The alternating rapping and singing work so well on this song, which are about being stuck in a doomed relationship and not knowing what to do about it. “Cos I hate the way that you make me feel…am I going crazy?”. This is such an infectious song and I love how the crunchy guitar riffs get heavier throughout the track, the pounding drums keep the tempo going and it’s impossible to stop your head banging to the beat.
When ‘My Name’ starts, it instantly reminds me of Eminem, but when the rapping of the first verse gives way to a massive chorus, that comparison is totally lost. This is a real ear worm of a track, it just gets right inside your head. “I’m gonna make the world know my name”, raps Brandyberry, I certainly think he has the determination to take From Ashes to New all the way. ‘Gone Forever’ reverts to the album theme of broken relationships. This is a more straight up alternative rock track, with heavy thwacking drums. ‘Broken’ is another great rock track, all heavy melodic riffs, punctuated with groovy rapping. There is an unexpected quiet bridge, where everything is almost silent, just a quiet vocal, you can almost hear a pin drop, before the rousing chorus takes flight again.
‘Forgotten’ has an almost ethereal feel in parts, and a disturbing lyric, “I’m drowning in the water”, this is another track that gets inside your head and refuses to budge. The theme of next track ‘Enemy’ is all about being your own worst enemy, the chugging guitar is a highlight and the drums keep up a hypnotic beat. ‘Nowhere to Run’ begins with almost ghost-like sampling that continue throughout, it’s an incredibly catchy track that steers more towards hip-hop than rock, the steady drumming throughout means there’s something for fans of the heavier stuff too. Things get ramped up slightly in ‘Let Go’, with crunchy guitar riffs. Continuing the album theme, it’s a tale of break up; “I’m still holding on to the world I used to know, I’m not ready to let go”.
Penultimate track ‘On My Own’ is about realising you don’t need that other person, you can stand on your own two feet and do things by yourself. As on the other tracks, the rapping and clean vocals alternating works so well. Closer ‘The Future’ is a bit different to the rest of the album as it features children singing on the chorus “We are the future, we have just begun”, and minimal instruments aside from a steady drum beat. It also forgoes the relationship theme and is all about looking towards the future. It feels anthemic in nature and is sure to be a crowd pleaser at live shows.
‘The Future’ is an album that shows just how far From Ashes To New have come since their first EP ‘Downfall’ was released in 2015, and what a huge difference a change in line-up has made. Successfully melding rap, rock and grunge is something not always done successfully, but the FATN guys have got it right. This is one of those albums that really gets under your skin, and stuck in your head!
From Ashes to New band members:-
Matt Brandyberry - vocals/guitar/keys/programming
Danny Case - vocals
Lance Dowdle - guitar
Mat Madiro - drums
‘The Future’ track listing:-
Nowhere to Run
On My Own
Find out more about From Ashes to New here:-