It seems Burn Halo is content on learning from their mistakes. And while their self titled debut wasn’t entirely a mistake, it was ultimately a record better left to be pieced apart for either mixtapes or iPod playlists, rather than be consumed as a whole. Well, no more, because James Hart and his gang have stepped their game up considerably with their sophomore release, Up from the Ashes, an album surely packed to the hilt with accessible hard rock ready to come to an arena near you.
There isn’t much you’d want to miss on Up from the Ashes, and as was previously mentioned, it’s quite the departure from the feast or famine style of songwriting the band employed the last time we saw them. Hart even takes the time to look to his past for inspiration here, borrowing a play from his one-time metalcore contemporaries in Atreyu (it’s eerie how similar the opening lead of “Alone” is to Atreyu’s “Ex’s & Oh’s), though a lot of Up From the Ashes finds Burn Halo doing what they know how to do best – write hard-hitting, guitar driven hard rock (“Tear It Down,” “Stranded”). They even find the time to fire off a ballad or two (“Threw It All Away,” “Give Me a Sign”), but Up from the Ashes doesn’t get much better than when the band cranks the badass-ery to 11 and let the amps wail (“Dakota,” “I Won’t Back Down”).
Up from the Ashes should be the album to rescue Burn Halo from the shackles of mid-card status and push them closer to headlining slots and main events. It’s one of the better pure rock albums you will hear this year.