Black and white photo of the band Scattered Ashes
Credit: @snapbymaya

Scattered Ashes – All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (Blowtorch Records)

“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.”
Karl Marx

Dublin born and now London based Scattered Ashes release their new EP All That Is Solid Melts Into Air on 14 June via Blowtorch Records. It was recorded at Darklands Audio Studios, Dublin last year, produced by Daniel Doherty (Fontaines D.C., Meryl Streek) and mastered by Pete Maher (Echo & The Bunnymen, Liam Gallagher).

The opener‘They Can’t Divide Us’ is a dramatic start to the EP. This track was recorded during the 2023 Dublin riots, with the studio located in the midst of the chaos. Even without knowing this fact, there is a sense of the ominous here, particularly at the start of ‘They Can’t Divide Us’. The doom laden drum beat combined with urgent guitar riffs and the emotional pull of lead vocalist Rob Dalton lays down a statement of intent of what is to follow. It moves at pace and feels like a rallying cry, in these tumultuous times community is important.

This is followed by ‘Ether’, with its guitars building a sense of personal claustrophobia, dark and moody with guitar riffs which are both haunting and tension inducing, just listen to the outro which lingers, a little uncomfortably. The repetition in the vocal re-enforces the rumination that occurs with reliving the past over and over. Indeed the band share that this track is “a meditation on paranoia, psychosis, and being haunted by the past.”  The atmosphere created mirrors this beautifully, the echoey and haunting midsection builds with increasing anxiety and frustration, a layer of relentless drums also pounding continuously. 

“A distant moment in a distant life, a distant voice from the other side, a past forgotten but the wounds remain, like gasoline to a naked flame.” 

Lead single ‘Kingdom’ gives us another twist in the captivating soundscapes created by Scattered Ashes. The band share that this is an exploration of sex, death and the idea of rebirth. The rhythm of the drumbeat is a sonic ear worm. ‘Kingdom’ is a highlight of this EP, holding the listeners attention throughout and never letting go. Using samples, synthesizers and sequencers it’s a more contemplative track in both sound and lyrics. Inspired by the difficult end of a relationship it feels intensely personal. Music is arguably at its most powerful when it elicits an emotional response, and so it is with ‘Kingdom’ . There is an acknowledgement too that growth comes with challenges experiences, hence the possibility of rebirth and moving forward.

‘Love Is Not An Option’ is Scattered Ashes debut single from 2020. It’s a dilemma for artists, deciding what to include and what to omit when building a body of work particularly in the early stages of a career. To have re-recorded this track for inclusion is absolutely the right thing to do. If anything it’s the guitar that gets a more prominent role here, adding a density to the overall instrumentation. The pace feels a little quicker and the power is thus magnified. Utterly glorious music to lose yourself in, not dominated by lyrics but by a thrilling soundscape.

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air closes with ‘I Will Be King’. The lead vocal of Rob is accompanied by the backing vocal of Gerry Shiel (bass guitar) here, a breath-taking combination which adds another layer of beauty to this track. The emotional power holds on tight right to the very end. There is no letting go until the final note.

Scattered Ashes are completed by Ben Downes (lead guitar) and Cillian Shiel (drums) and together the quartet have produced an EP full of depth. The subject matter which provides the inspiration behind the songs may be considered melancholy, but overall the sense is one of hope and possibility. Life is a journey of peaks and troughs for all and Scattered Ashes have crafted songs from such highs and lows. The talent is obvious from the songs they have crafted, the evidence of All That Is Solid Melts Into Air speaks for itself.

For more information on Scattered Ashes please check their facebook and instagram.

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