From Ashes to New – Quarantine Chronicles Vol. 2 (EP Review)

When we last heard from Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s From Ashes To New, they were chronicling their time in lockdown by combining the old with the new—and Chester Bennington too. Now they’re back for Round 2 with the aptly-titled Quarantine Chronicles Vol. 2, the second EP in a three-part series. Better Noise Music delivered the digital mayhem on August 13, 2021.

Young bands are a dime a dozen these days, and many with eclectic influences fall victim to their idolatry. Instead, From Ashes To New has found a way to cull together seemingly disparate textures, fusing their thick Nu Metal influence with everything from Pop Rock to Metal and beyond. Proving themselves with releases such as 2016’s Day One, 2018’s The Future, and 2020’s Panic, they have established their name as one of the brightest in Rock-n-Roll today.

So what’s a band to do when the world shuts down? Well, From Ashes To New—Vocalist Danny Case (clean and unclean vocals), Matt Brandyberry (rapping, keyboards, guitar), Lance Dowdle (guitar, bass), and Mat Madiro (drums, percussion)—has not sat idle: to date, they’ve delivered a full-length as well as an EP. Continuing to be prolific, they’re back with another EP and it’s apt to turn some heads!

The 5-song Quarantine Chronicles Vol. 2 departs from their tasteful Linkin Park and Evanescence covers to explore a shocking Hard Rock offering, emotional Pop Rock hit, and a truly infamous Rap pairing. So where do we go from here?

The EP follows a similar format as its predecessor: something new, something old, and some surprising covers. It all kicks off with the latest original offering from the band, “Light Up the Sky.” Combining that prominent Nu Metal influence with an early 2000s vibe, From Ashes To New creates a rocker that revels in the malicious deliciousness of watching your flame burn. It’s a venomous kiss goodbye, one that serves as a reminder that sometimes we are better off letting go. And it pairs perfectly with “Finally See,” which was a stand-alone single, originally released in 2018, that finally sees (very punny!) a ‘proper release’ on the EP.

For some, the highlight of the collection is going to be the perfectly bizarre choice of cover songs: Paramore’s “Decode,” Avenged Sevenfold’s “Nightmare,” as well as Dr. Dre’s “Forgot About Dre”—very different tracks meant to appeal to a wide variety of fans. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that these selections allow the boys in From Ashes To New to show off their abilities to embrace the mainstream appeal of the Hayley Williams-helmed act, technical proficiency of Synyster Gates and co., and the lightning speed rhymes of the master, Dr. Dre.

To start, if Paramore’s contribution to the Twilight Saga isn’t instantly recognizable, where have you been for the past 13  years? Yes, that’s right: the song is now 13-years-old. With the aid of Electric Violinist Caitlin De Ville, the boys add a dusky grit to the hit that made a million teenage girls emo. While the cover doesn’t have quite the same emotional resonance as the original, From Ashes To New do the song justice and offer up some nostalgia for any Twihards out there.

And it’s likely that the very same fans that worship Miss Williams would cower in fear at their first taste of M. Shadow’s sadistic vocals. So to show that they are definitely not a one-trick-pony, From Ashes To New also opts to tackle Avenged Sevenfold’s “Nightmare.” It’s a ballsy move considering A7x are the kings of their craft, but the boys wear it well. In fact, the intro is so close to the original that you might begin to wonder if the wrong track was put on the EP, much in thanks to Brandyberry’s spot-on mimic of Synyster Gates.

Equally risky: stepping into the ring with Dr. Dre and Eminem’s iconic 2000 single, “Forgot About Dre.” So, can a Brandyberry from Amish country rap with two legends? Hell yeah he can! And the fact that From Ashes To New would even attempt such a diverse collection shows that these Pennsylvanians come from eclectic musical backgrounds and they’re not afraid to flaunt it.

In this, it’s hard not to compare From Ashes to New to Papa Roach: a band that proudly embraces all the angles of their multiple musical personalities. From Rap to Rock, Pop Rock to Hip-Hop, it’s all here in just five tracks. So while fans are no doubt hungrily waiting for the next all-original release, the band’s latest is at least a fun aperitif to the main action and one that screams volumes about their abilities. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Quarantine Chronicles Vol. 2 4.5 of 5 stars.



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