By August Edwards
Albuquerque alt-metal quartet Ashes of Jupiter sink us into a gritty pit of rock with its new EP Fallen Kingdom, released on August 24th, 2019.
Left to right: Jared Houston, Adam Liston, Robson Guy, Tim Scarberry, and producer and engineer Ken Riley. Courtesy of Ashes of Jupiter.
Fallen Kingdom is a sweet-as-salt auditory attack for listeners. Ashes of Jupiter drummer Jared Houston and bassist Robson Guy lay down a foundation of hard rock and metal, sometimes forming the feel of an aggressive sort of blues. The band’s vocalist Adam Liston and guitarist Tim Scarberry have a cutthroat call-and-response that is versatile—saturated and stinging. Each individual of the group works independently to contribute to a torrent of adversity, ultimately melding their sounds for a staggering execution.
The tracks “Static,” “Gone,” “Coup de Gras,” and “Inevitable” are representative of looking through the gaps between stakes of a white picket fence. Through the evenly-spaced posts could be anything: dying dandelions, vicious dogs, innocuous garden gnomes, or all of the above. The coarseness of Fallen Kingdom swells like lounge music with the drive of boxing champions. Members of Ashes of Jupiter fight each other in sync.
This chaotic quality lends itself to listener disorientation. In the first track “Static,” the opening guitar riff evokes wind whipping desert sand in your face. In another act of displacing the listener, the piece exhibits a grand ending that brings a flourishing, live quality to a digital, non-live performance.
A cornerstone of Fallen Kingdom is the sublimity of Scarberry’s solos. In the track “Gone,” he stretches the musical phrases in a way that gives his guitar its own storytelling lyrics. This effect in “Coup de Gras” steeps in time over Guy’s intricate bassline—both instruments simultaneously giving the listener two very different senses of what a moment is. There is nothing menacing or disorienting about his interludes between vocals; there is nothing superfluous. It is bewitching poetry.
Alternatively, Scarberry’s hook in the track “Inevitable” is foreboding; in the song, Liston snarls, “It’ll all be over soon—you only have yourself to blame.” This track showcases an instrumental vortex. Liston’s voice transforms into a percussive, repetitive instrument as the piece progresses to fuse with his band. This blending sets a harmony of pain and hurt, distrust and fear. The somber finish to the track denotes irrevocable damage.
Ultimately, Ashes of Jupiter’s newest EP presents a defiant rock and roll strut which calls to the hardcore ebb and flow of the universe. To listen to Fallen Kingdom is to surf the fringe of lawlessness and harmony.
Courtesy of Ashes of Jupiter