It's tough to make an original hard rock album. It's tough to find a creative new twist when hundreds of wannabe AC/DCs, Aerosmiths, and Alice in Chains have flooded this style of music with mediocrity. It's tough, but every few years someone finds a way to put their own stamp on hard rock.
Burning Brides is definitely not that band.
Leave No Ashes has elements of grunge, punk, horror rock, and metal. That could be a good mix for a more competent band, but Burning Brides is completely trite and unoriginal. We don't need to hear yet another crappy interpretation of the 1990s, especially one from a band who is incapable of separating that decade's wheat from its chaff.
I was going to count all of the lyrical and musical clichés, but there are just too many. If you can think of a formulaic rock trick, it's on this album. Pre-recorded crowd noise? Check. Cheesy guitar solos? Check. Irrelevant swearing? Check. Wrong-side-of-the-tracks imagery? Yep. Tough, bluesy power ballad with an acoustic guitar? Oh, you know it. Leave No Ashes sounds as if someone watched Blue Man Group's "Rock Concert Instruction Manual" and took it a bit too seriously. The sad thing is, the band has energy and there are moments where some genuine talent and creativity shine through the muck. If there were more songs in the spirit of "Vampire Waltz," Leave No Ashes might be an album that's worth hearing instead of ignoring.
The cover art is strong, and the band deserves credit for not plastering their name across the middle of it. Of course, the cover is the only good part. The faux-handwriting typeface used for the lyrics is just like the music: it's a façade of pain, desperation, and anger that overlies an unoriginal and corporate mentality. The most telling detail of Leave No Ashes is visible on the tray card: one side displays the band/album names (complete with anarchy symbols in lieu of A's) and the other side displays the copyright and legal information for V2 records, All Rights Reserved, manufactured and distributed in the United States by BMG Distribution, a unit of BMG Entertainment, unauthorized reproduction is prohibited by federal law and subject to criminal prosecution. Needless to say, there were no anarchy symbols on that side of the tray card.
Listen if you like: Godsmack, Stone Temple Pilots, Danzig, Alice in Chains.
If it were food, it'd be: regurgitated.