Pennywise - From The Ashes

From The Ashes

For a good part of the 90’s Pennywise and Bad Religion were the 2 bands that ruled the world for me. I still think both these bands are the main protagonists that made me the punkrock addict I still am. They released numerous albums over the last dozen years, and although it’s not easy for me to admit, the more recent releases never did the same to me as their earlier work. Recently Bad Religion managed to evoke these admiring feelings again with “The Process Of Belief” and now I hoped Pennywise could do the same with this album. Let me already confess you that they didn’t succeed in doing that entirely, but there’s definitely quite an evolution for the better, or more correctly a return to the past for the better. Whereas in their previous two releases I had the impression they were looking for a calmer approach and less high tempo songs, “From The Ashes” contains lots of songs that have the speed of the old days although there’s definitely still a more laid-back tempo in some songs as well. When I’m talking about midtempo pace, you should of course remember that this is Pennywise we’re talking about, so there’s still that same Fletcher who is pulling and churning his strings hard while using a lot of staccatos, a bassist that plays his own melodies, a drummer that is hitting those drums contra-timed with high frequency, and Jim Lindberg’s vocals that have that distinctive sound. I don’t know what it is though, and maybe after a few listenings this feeling will totally disappear, but right now I’m often missing the real punch, drive, hooks and directness in some of the songs. The original agression that I felt in the early days just doesn’t come true entirely. Maybe it’s just because I heard these guys so often and these songs are more of the same, because I really can’t point out any big differences in sound. And although I didn't have the lyrics with this promo, judging the song titles and the sentences I could understand, it looks like the messages in these songs tackle the same socio-political issues as they did before, which means there's no girls involved. If you are as familiar with this band as I am, you can expect everything you heard from these guys again with this release and just enjoy the album. If you only got to know them more recently or just own a couple of their albums, I imagine you to could go through a phase where you think this band is ruling the world from now on, as I did earlier. Fact remains that songs like “God Save The USA”, 'Something To Change', “Salvation”, “Falling Down” and 'Change My Mind' are either impressive melodic or great sing along punkrocksongs, but I just felt I had been singing them before. Therefore I have to be honest and label this album as an obligatory and honorable addition to my Pennywise collection but will never see this as their most memorable work. For the record, Pennywise, along with Lagwagon will always remain the band that offered me the best and most exciting shows I ever experienced in my life. Some of these songs deserve a place in their next set I'll witness.

Best songs: 
Change My Mind