Album Reviews: Meltdown (Bonus Tracks & DVD) by AshSounding like a tightly wound, coughed-up hairball of '80s metal, Meltdown brings us a different Ash than the one I recalled fondly from the mid-'90s glut of passable radio rock. They now sound like a party hearty Catherine Wheel. But these vets can still hook you in with a couple of long sugar canes. “Orpheus” is the shiniest diamond in this rough, while other notables are the lighter-raising ballad “Starcrossed” and “Out of the Blue.”
“Clones,” which sounds a little like a lost LA Guns track, is the single to a new Star Wars video game, and sports some great pop sensibility packaged in a boring production. It’s the Fruit Stripe gum equivalent of alt-rock, and it’s about time to spit it out. What happened to the fun Northern Irish band that did “Girl from Mars” and “Kung Fu”? It just seems like they are trying too hard to break big here in the States.
As long as you're not expecting some poppy Brit indie, you might actually get off on the boozy riffage and chunky power chords here. If you secretly harbored any fondness for '80s power metal (and who didn’t?), you can more safely appreciate Ash. Telling someone you like the new Ash record is a much easier first step than cracking out “Cold Blood” by Kix or “Poison Ivy” by Faster Pussycat.
There’s no denying my toe tapping to “Renegade Cavalcade” as I write this. But then the next track just makes me chuckle, with its cowbell clanging away like that Blue Oyster Cult sketch on SNL. More hooks, less cowbell, Ash. But thanks for the throwback fun. - Jeff Kamin
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