ASHES DIVIDE – Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright

ASHES DIVIDE - Keep Telling Myself It's Alright
  • 5.5/10
    ASHES DIVIDE - Keep Telling Myself It's Alright - 5.5/10


Release date: April 8, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Ashes Divide is Billy Howerdel. And Billy Howerdel is, to some major extent, A Perfect Circle. So: Is Ashes Divide A Perfect Circle? The answer to this would be yes and no, as it is not perfect, but it comes full circle. Or less cryptic: Bill Howerdel delivers a solo record not too far from A Perfect Circle that makes a lot of sense, but cannot see eye to eye with the last two releases of his original band.

Although the first track, Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright, opens in the same mood and sound like A Perfect Circle record, partly due to the fact that Bill’s partner in crime is drummer Josh Freese of… right: A Perfect Circle. Almost all other instruments are handled by Bill himself, so the word solo album does apply here. This character becomes more apparent during the course of the album, as the sound and songs deter more and more from Thirteenth Step and Mer De Noms with each song, and leave the melancholic, but rocky, slightly Indian sounding opening track as the only homage to A Perfect Circle.

It becomes more obvious with each song that the album, although also often moody and atmospheric, leans towards straighter Alternative songs. Some influences of Dark Wave and 80s Rock, even some Punk like in the vocals of “Denial Awaits” can also be detected. A comparison is difficult, it is Rock, but not Metal, Alternative with the usual tendency to lament, extremely emotional, like Ethan James met crybaby Eddie Vedder in the studio to be produced by, say, Desmond Child. Or somebody else who could give it a commercial direction. Including a polished, slightly overdone production.

But even with that said, this is not a bad album. The contrast between the melancholic baseline and some rocky and radio play worthy tunes is quite intriguing at times. The great “Enemies” has cool bass play and fast drumbeats and stands out of the album nicely, and the final song “The Sword”, the highlight of Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright hidden at the very end, convinces thoroughly with a contrast between fragile piano and drum eruptions.

Overall, the four songs mentioned so far are the best tracks on the album. Three more are okay (“Too Late”, “Forever Can Be” and “The Prey”) without leaving a lasting impression, but also four have to be called bad, boring, superfluous. With three of those back to back as tracks 7 through 9 there is a certain part of the album that makes you want to turn off the CD, which would mean you would miss the completion of the circle, as the album begins with two of the best, and ends with the other two best songs.

Is that clever? Hardly. But a solo album often is more about the artist than about the audience. It is the same here, and if the outcome is suited to be fun for the listener, the better, but in this case it is only halfway there. Maybe Bill needed to get this off his chest to come up with another milestone with A Perfect Circle, and then it was worth it. Check it out anyway, maybe the four great tracks will be worth the purchase of the album for you.


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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