Bleaching Heat by Row of AshesRelease date: May 6, 2022
Label: Surviving Sounds
Bleaching Heat is the third album from Bristol/London sludge three piece Row of Ashes and is built on the frustrations of life in the UK in the last few years. The album strikes a fierce battle between vicious sludge and noise rock and to play on the words of the album title the eight tracks here are full of pain and abrasion yet ultimately lead to a cleansing of negative energy. This is caustic and uncomfortable but for those who like to bathe in misery to unburden, this is catharsis at its most pivotal.
I always feel lazy for dropping a similar artist so early in a review and it’s no disrespect to Row of Ashes but the aura of those first few Will Haven albums felt resonant for me here. The eight tracks certainly share the combination of shredding vocals and memorable riffs, especially in the title track, but the band mixes in so many different aspects as well which gives this album a great longevity. ‘Jerk’ was a real standout on my first few listens and although it starts off in a lighter manner, in comparison to the first two tracks, it’s not long before the jack hammer blows. It shares the anguished ferorosity that was apparent on the last Aerosol Jesus release which shows a common bond in the feelings of UK bands.
Row of Ashes does some great work in mixing quiet and loud and the suspense of when the switch will come creates a tension to the already putrid atmosphere. ‘The Wreck and The Mill’ offer the first sign of a breather but as it progresses the mood begins to darken before it explodes. Even the more chaotic opening tracks have the ability to be heavy and loud but keep getting heavier and louder by throwing in angular riffs before the band snaps back into unison to raise that noise threshold again.
With those links to moments of early Will Haven there is also a nostalgic feeling for me with the added edge of modern frustrations. This is most certainly an album for bleak days, it’s a ball of rage waiting to explode but it’s also a release and eases that sense of misery by the time ‘In Summation’ plays out. Sometimes the only way to rid yourself of anger is to expel it and for that I can’t prescribe this album fast enough.