I’ll have to say neither murfreesboro nor Nashville is known for its heavy metal scene. There has been a band here and there that might have had what it takes to put Middle Tennessee on the heavy metal map, but to date it just hasn’t happened.
Playing in metal bands for practically the last half of my life, this has been quite frustrating and bothersome to me. You can blame it on a lack of talent or a lack of decent venues or a little of both. It’s hard for me to get excited about a band that sounds like they are getting brutally sodomized by G. Gordon Liddy. That seems to be the case with most amateur metal bands in the local scene. Also, the select few metal bands that do have a smidgen of talent usually leave the area because of the lack of quality venues.
I walked into Club Sweetwater on July 13 to hear a band called Through Ashes We Rise. I didn’t get my hopes up. However, I was in for a jolt.
Through Ashes We Rise was a band that I was somewhat familiar with. I heard them jam through a couple of songs two or three months ago with a different lineup. I used to play in a band with guitarist Jason McGuire and vocalist Brent Brown. However, I wasn’t really familiar with guitarist Jason Smith, bassist Sean Duncan, or drummer Mike Carlson.
Through Ashes We Rise took stage with a presence like no other local band I had ever seen. They honestly looked like pros?and this was their first show. I had a whim that I might have found the saviors of the local metal scene.
Their sound pierced through the audience with bone-shattering riffs and intricate harmonies. McGuire and Smith ripped through guitar solos that most pros
couldn’t pull off. The technical drum technique by Carlson was very impressive with its riveting blast-beats and flamboyant control. I was also very impressed with Duncan, who broke the rules of modern metal and stood out as a bass player?not following the guitar.
Brown reminded me of Lamb of God’s vocalist Randy Blythe. Despite a scratched-up throat, his stage presence and vocal range were stellar. And to top Blythe’s vocals (no offense, Randy), he actually had great clean melody to add equilibrium to the growling and screaming. Honestly, these guys put most of the bands on “Headbanger’s Ball” to shame.
This was the best thrash/ hardcore metal band that I had heard in this area in eons. I thought to myself, “This band has the potential to?as Jim Morrison would’ve put it?make the myth.”
“We’re not a freakin’ fashion show,” Brown said as he casually leaned on a brick wall after the show. “We all pretty much like the same type of music, and it may be a bit outside of the realm of the popular norm. But we’re here to do it and do it right.
“All of my lyrics are introspective . . . they’re all about crazy situations I’ve been through. But I always leave that element of hope in there. That’s the real idea of our whole persona?hope.”
McGuire, after sharing a few Jager-Bombs with me, talked about how the band pulled off such an amazing first show.
“Well, we do what we do. We all come from different atmospheres and situations. You see, two positives don’t equal a negative. We all come from the same roots?from Judas Priest to Unearth. That’s the reason we all clicked together tonight,” McGuire said.
“I want to let everyone know that you don’t have to sound like everyone else. We’ve worked and sweated for a very long time to get as far as we have come with our music. And tonight I feel that it’s worth it,” Smith said.
You can determine the difference between greatness and a garage band. Honestly, I’ve never heard of the predecessor in this state. No doubt, these guys (as well as practically every band in this area) are in the garage-band status. But that doesn’t seem to stop them from achieving greatness. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve found our metal savior. Maybe they actually can “make the myth.”
Check out myspace.com/
throughasheswerise, or see them at The Muse on July 30, opening for Remembering Never.