Out of the swamps of New Jersey comes a new hard rock with a progressive angle called Ashes Are Nutritious. The band which consists of vocalist Billy Clifton, bassist Gianni Scalise, drummer Craig Lawlor and guitarist Paul Grocz had been creating a name for themselves locally and as such managed to draw the attention of Billy Graziedei and Danny Schuler from Biohazard who ultimately ended up producing Frustration + . The band cites the likes of Tool, The Mars Volta and Radiohead as inspirations, and while they do draw on these influences on some tracks, what they're really doing is finding their own way and putting their own unique musical stamp on their music.
The material is heavy and experimental at the same time, as big melodic anthem like choruses give way to guitarist Grocz's flair for moments of atmospheric introspection. Clifton sounds equally at home singing his lungs out as he does tackling the mellower material as he does on "Anxieux" which allows him to stretch out a bit more, highlighting his rich and emotive vocals. The band as a whole really fires on all cylinders on this release and it's a very solid and respectable debut but even that might not prepare you fully for what they unleash with the final track "SIAFU" which is a 19 minute progressive monster. It's on this final number that you really can hear and feel the Tool influence as Grocz uses his guitar textures to the absolute max, weaving his own sonic tapestry slowly and ever so precisely overtop Lawlor's delicate drum work. The music builds in tension as Scalise introduces his thick, fuzz style bass lines to mix as he helps guide the track to the conclusion of its first section around the 9 minute mark. When things pick back up again it's Grocz again who takes the song to another level with his spacey and innovative guitar work which is a brilliant nod back to Pink Floyd's early psychedelic sound. Throughout this instrumental both Lawlor and Scalise provide the perfect rhythmic Ying to Grocz's Yang. It never comes off as being overblown or pretentious and what makes it so intriguing is that it doesn't sound like anything else on the rest of the album
Ashes Are Nutritious believe it or not are an independent band but I think that will change once people begin to take notice and start to realize the great potential that these guys possess. Once the word gets out they could be massive.
1) The Wish
4) Anything In The Way
6) Salted Dagger
7) Vulnerability Detected
9) Protrusion Of Truth