Daily Hat Track Roundup: April 2019

Alright, it’s been May for precisely a week, and I still haven’t posed a summary of all the Daily Hat Tracks for April. If you’re following me on Twitter, then this post will be kind of useless to you as I’ve already posed all of these songs and their descriptions on Twitter. I aim to do so daily, but every once and a while, I slack off and later post an obscenely large amount of them in one day. Anyways, here’s thirty songs I enjoyed listening to over the past month so perhaps you can enjoy them as well. Check out the playlist at the bottom to hear all of the Daily Hat Tracks of the year.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 1 (Combichrist – The Evil in Me): This is basically the edgiest I can go before the edge starts to be a detractor rather than a positive aspect. Has that nihilistic mood for the darker times, though it doesn’t cross any lines.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 2 (Bliss – Warriors): I’ve already shared the Guitar remix a month or so back. I was originally introduced to that one and find it a bit more addicting. This one has some cool parts too, but it’s not nearly as good as constant guitar solos.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 3 (Bring Me the Horizon & Grimes – nihilist blues): I’ve been listening to a lot of edgier music as of late. Should probably work on rebalancing my musical diet, but eh this dark vibe is where I’m at right now. There’s a nihilist knocking on my door… And he shares my face…

 

Daily Hat Track: April 4 (Shirobon – Born Survivor): Definitely a nostalgic inspirational tune from a few years back when things were a lot simpler (though still kinda complicated). Good chiptune mood in this one. Has a nice bounce to it.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 5 (H.U.V.A. Network – Something Heavens): It’s incredibly late and so I desire to end the day with some relaxation from the immersive heavenly experience that is H.U.V.A. Network. Good night to all. May your dreams be of something heavenly.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 6 (Seven Lions & Jason Ross – The Sirens: Oh yeah, I forgot about this psytrance/psystep wonder Seven Lions released last year. Looks like there’s a compilation with an extended version out now. Neat.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 7 (Douglas Holmquist & Susanna Lundgren – Something Beneath): The fact that this beautiful inspiring track comes from a Pinball game still astounds me. Then again, Pinout is a very interesting spin on Pinball, so it deserves it.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 8 (Nömak – Schrödinger’s Cat WLP Edit): Here’s a very strange trippy experimental track that breaks apart halfway through to return as something completely different. Such an odd song. I love it.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 9 (Lauren Bousfield – Two Swans Duct Taped to the Side of the Coke Machine): Long as we’re doing experimental madness, here’s a shorter fascinatingly enjoyable mess from Lauren Bousefield. The song title isn’t shorter though. Not short at all.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 10 (Varien – Born of Blood, Risen from Ash): This one’s only about a week old but the combination of 2012-2024 Varien and 2026 – 2018 Varien really works here. Really looking forward to everything else Varien has coming for us over the next year.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 11 (Freezepop – Phantoms): I have no idea what this song is about. Well I know it’s about a post mortem dance party but other than that I’m at a loss. Fun song though!

 

Daily Hat Track: April 12 (Stephen & IN-Q – Start a Fire): Not my usual genre to post but Stephen does occasionally dip very slightly into electronic with a synth here and there. This mostly acoustic intro to his album is among my favorites from him.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 13 (Joachim Pastor – Reykjavik): Been a while since I posted some Hungry Music. Joachim Pastor with a chill drive as always. Good funky grooves. Beautifully mysterious melodies. Odd outro for a hungry song but I don’t really mind.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 14 (Arkasia – Those From There): Not an Arkasia expert, so I can’t necessarily compare this to songs from the rest of his discography, but this one certainly is magically immersive. Love the subtle vocal flavors added here and there.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 15 (Andy Blueman – Sea Tides): Honestly kind of tired tonight so here’s the trance track that started this week’s Discover Weekly on Spotify. Don’t have all that much to say about it. My reviews are thousands of words long. Let me be lazy on occasion.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 16 (Inofaith – Dawn is Late): I’m up a bit late tonight though not as late as this song suggests. This comes from the same EP as Nocturne which I posted a while back. Inofaith has released only a handful of tracks but this one is among the best of them.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 17 (Ashbury Heights – Science): If I had made a list of the best songs of 2018, this would have been near the top. One of my favorite Ashbury Heights songs as well, though The Looking Glass Society has some better ones. Anyways, this song is about depression!

 

Daily Hat Track: April 18 (Space Buddha – Mental Hotline): Mostly sharing this because I find the voice at the beginning of the song to be an amusing asshat. The rest of the track bangs though. If you do need help with mental issues, call a hotline if need be. Just don’t call this one.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 19 (Hilight Tribe – Esperanza): I’m trying to maybe finish up my review by the end of the day so um here’s a groovy trance song with a guitar. Enjoy that for nine minutes why don’t ya?

 

Daily Hat Track: April 20 (Neuromonakh Feofan – Ядрёность): For the track that was supposed to be posted on my birthday, I would like to share this Russian DnB and dubstep. I always find this band to be incredibly interesting.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 21 (The Future Sound of London – Point of Departure): For the Easter Daily Hat Track, I give you the first immersive track off of this album I just discovered by this artist I just discovered. Gonna be listening to more of this as I wash the dishes.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 22 (Neuromonakh Feofan – Нейромонах Феофан): Another Neuromonakh Feofan song because why not, they’re addicting. This is their titular song. Titular as in named after that artist, not the album. One of their best.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 23 (Chris Keya – Totentanz): One of the many highlights of this week’s Discovery Weekly. Solid drumbeat. Plenty of great guitar rocking throughout. Plus a couple of good melodies to jam to.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 24 (OVERWERK & Nikon – Calling): OVERWERK and Nikon are a great combination that gets better with each iteration. The most recent iteration of yesteryear being this agnostically themed track with the best Arpwerk from I’ve even heard from OVERWERK

 

Daily Hat Track: April 25 (VNV Nation – Space & Time): One of my very first VNV Nation songs continues to also be one of my very favorites. Really captures the beauty of the chaos of this world. Spoke to me quite well when I’d discovered it 3 years ago and it still does.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 26 (Mazmoneth – Kali’s Day Off): As this day comes to a close, may I introduce some odd ambience to end your day. A few melodies too. Ok actually there’s a lot of interesting stuff in this song and it develops greatly over time so I’m gonna stop listing it all.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 27 (OVERWERK & Mars – Know): Another OVERWERK track today. This is the runner-up to Calling on the State album and the best non-Nikon song. There’s a bit more darkness and doubt in this one despite being called “Know.” Great groove in places too.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 28 (Stonebank & EMEL – Stronger): Stonebank released a new song recently and for some reason, as I was listening to it I really wanted there to be a surprise DnB drop added in there towards the end. It didn’t happen so I had to listen to my fav from him again.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 29 (Ace Ventura & Antimony – We Dream): We Dream. It’s who we are. Best psytrance if the past week. Some inspiring relatable vocals (I’m definitely dreamer) and a great mysterious sound that feels both familiar and unique at the same time.

 

Daily Hat Track: April 30 (Neelix & Caroline Harrison – Makeup): 4 months in and I still haven’t shared my favorite song of all time? This psytrance masterpiece has such an intricate hidden message that I just don’t have the room to fully analyze it in a tweet. I’ll have to review it someday.

 

 

 

Full Daily Hat Tracks 2019 playlist here:

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=8wlLYj9RQmOw_1JrDn2TAw

 

Daily Hat Track Roundup: February 2019

It was here that Tuesday Newsday ended, but we don’t talk about that. This is just the February Daily Hat Track roundup post. Nothing more.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 1 (King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Cyboogie): Cyboogie walks a surprisingly thin line between a fun groovy vibe an oddly ominous vibe slinking along I’m the background.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 2 (Kick Bong – This Charming Violin (TPOT remix): End of a long unfortunately unproductive day. So today I’ll just mention the song having a food vibe and some beautiful violins and female vocals. It truly is quite a lovely track.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 3 (Ashbury Heights – Spiders): Remember the all too edgy Ashbury Heights album from a couple weeks ago? Here’s a song that’s a step in the right direction of edge. Actually the track that introduced me to the duo (with revolving door of female vocalists).

 

Daily Hat Track: February 4 (Myndflame – Club Thrall): I didn’t get far into my Discovery Weekly due to download troubles but this song in particular had a good drive and variety to it. That’s about all I have to say about it at the moment though.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 5 (Electric Universe, Hilmar & Chico – Rockers and Rollers): The moment I see an Electric Universe song I think psytrance. The moment I see the song title referencing rock n roll I think kick-ass guitar sections. This song delivers on both counts and I love it.

 

Daily Hat Track; February 6 (Bliss & Alex Berserker – Warriors Guitar Mix): A couple days ago I shared a psytrance song with some rocking guitars. Well, today I’m sharing THE psytrance song with rocking guitars. This eleven minute experience is well with your time.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 7 (Infected Mushroom i-wish (Acoustic Live Remix)): Each time, I listen to this acoustic version of I Wish, I like it more and more. It used to be my least favorite from IM21 pt 1, but now it’s second favorite right behind Bliss’ remix of Bust a Move (which is unbeatable).

 

Daily Hat Track: February 8 (Mind.in.a.box – Amnesia): Today I’m just going to throw back the song that introduced me to my current favorite artist. Really pulled me into the computerized vocals and the existential themes. Probably one of my best musical discoveries of all time.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 9 (Infected Mushroom – Dancing with Kadafi): I’ve shared a lot of long songs as of late, but I consider this one to be the epitome of journeys through sound. It’s an absolute classic.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 10 (The Anix – TECHUNTER): Only just finished up Friday’s Release Radar and this nearly cinematic technological wonder was one of the last ones in the playlist. It’s also the best one in the playlist.

 

Daily Hat Track February 11 (Eisfabrik – Walking Towards the Sun): Actually got all the way through my Discovery Weekly in one day (which is rare). And this was bothering the grooviest and most inspiring of the bunch. It’s not often that you find such good futurepop with an uplifting vibe.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 12 (Mind.in.a.box – Redefined): I have no words right now or too many words. Either way, I’d forgotten how great this song is (definitely one of my all time favorites). Music and lyrics are dense with power and meaning and you should listen to it right now

 

Daily Hat Track: February 13 (Infected Mushroom – Frog Machine): Does this track make anyone else envision a giant monstrous frog throwing it’s little normal frog coworkers into a fiery furnace before usurping it’s boss that happens to be a corpse of bones lying in the corner? Just me? Ok.

 

Daily Hat Track : February 14 (Infected Mushroom – In Front of Me): Not much to say about this one. It’s just resonating a bit too much with me right now. Every line is filled with relatable existential anguish.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 15 (Worakls – Cloches): Worakls and his Hungry Music fellows are always a treat to listen to. Therefore this is one of my favorites of this week’s Release Radar.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 16 (Infected Mushroom – Return to the Suace): Here’s another song that makes me visualize a music video except this one makes less sense because it’s a sea voyage adventure involving a sea serpent and a time distortion device. My imagination is vividly random.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 17 (Infected Mushroom – Demons of Pain): I usually tend to listen to the remix from the Return to the Sauce album, but my love doe the existential original still holds today. I may have been listening to too much Infected Mushroom lately though.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 18 (Kick Bong (Progress in Happiness Remix)): Here’s a funky groove of happiness from Kick Bong for yesterday’s Daily Hat Track. Sleep schedule adjustment is making me forgetful.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 19 (Scatman John – U-turn): Didn’t really listen to Scatman when he was alive, but I have been enjoying his music for quite a few years nonetheless. This one about healing one’s soul with a new beginning is the most applicable to my life at the moment.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 20 (OVERWERK – Reign): I’ll admit I’m really only into this one for the bassline. It has a good groove overall, but the bassline is what makes it.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 21 (Infected Mushroom – Saeed): I already knew this was my favorite Infected Mushroom song, but after relistening to it today. It’s even better than I remember. Every moment in this track, be it lyrical or musical, is incredibly powerful.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 22 (Electric Universe – Dragonfly): Psytrance songs named after winged insects are good ok? What else is there to say?

 

Daily Hat Track: February 23 (Andy Hunter – Go): Andy Hunter was my first electronic artist. Go was his first song. If you’re guessing I have some nostalgia attached to this song, you couldn’t be more right.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 24 (Liquid Soul – Hypnotic Energy (Pitch Bend Remix): As I was scouring through this week’s Release Radar in search or tracks worthy of mentioning for Newsday Tuesday this fresh psytrance track proved to be the most worthy.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 25 (The Luna Sequence – Veil Walled Garden): Today’s Discover Weekly reminded me how awesome The Luna Sequence is at blending electronic and rock elements. All of her stuff definitely has an energetic vibe to it.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 26 (Andy Hunter – Sandstorm Calling): An Andy Hunter classic. One of the two nonlyrical songs on the Exodus album. Definitely feel some nostalgia listening to this.

 

Daily Hat Track: February 27 (Ayria – Feed Her to the Wolves): Isn’t it great when you discover an oddly catchy song during lunch and have to spend the rest your workday trying not to sing of how you had a woman eaten alive wolves and then displayed her body to intimidate your enemies?

 

Daily Hat Track: February 28 (Carpenter Brut – Paradise Warfare): Carpenter Brut is great but Carpenter Brut with a saxophone? Mmmmmmm

 

Remember to follow Twitter for a new Hat Trac every day and to take a look at the Daily Hat Track Playlist linked below.

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=hzGhZDDaRV6bgotZiPxheA

 

One last thing. I wanted to apologize for missing the review last Friday. As I’d mentioned on twitter I ended up having to take the week off due to health issues but I’ll be putting extra effort into keeping on track for these reviews from now on (Getting rid of Tuesday Newsday should help

Ashbury Heights – Morningstar in a Black Car (2008 album)

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/23qyXix4jSKwPcZxR276dB?si=isfukz35ROSEJIhtpD7TwA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQ58A9BSeYlH1FIRtevk9xXHHG3w-qWdm

 

Introduction: Welcome back to the ever-edgy Ashbury Heights. Oh boy did we have fun last time with the abundance of edge to uncomfortable limits. Thankfully, Ashbury Heights’ edge is a bit more tolerable this time around so this review should go a little bit more smoothly. Anyways, there’s no point in wasting an excessive amount of time introducing the duo as I think I did a pretty good and thorough job in the last review. Let’s get on with the music.

 

Ashbury Heights – Morningstar in a Black Car (5.5): Starting off with the title track I see. Actually, this is interestingly the only album in their discography to have a title track (unless they decide to prove me wrong sometime in the next few years). My opinion of this song is fairly similar to Bare Your Teeth, the introductory song of the last album: mostly due to its cryptic lyrics. The music itself is an improvement though, but that might be partly because the piano has more character than the unremarkable synth from the first. The bassline in this one is a bit of a disappointment and I’m afraid it does make this song a bit blander than I’d like. But that’s not too much of a problem as Ashbury Heights have the capability of adding some good lyrics to their songs to save something that would otherwise get an average rating.

 

Except when they’re cryptic like this. I could sum up what’s said in this song in a few bullet points, so I’ll do exactly that.

  • Verse 1. Ander describes himself with a few edgy™ adjectives
  • Verse 2: More edginess concentrating on nihilism and resigning to suffering
  • Chorus: Just says the title of the song and I have no idea what it means.

Regardless, the lyrics are too vague to glean any real meaning (and the song suffers because of it), so I think I’m just going to move on to the next song.

 

Ashbury Heights – Spiders (7.5): This was actually my first Ashbury Heights song (though it was a group effort of some songs off of The Looking Glass Society that really got me into them). Spiders continues the trend of Ashbury Heights nihilism. And like usual for this album in particular, the song definitely has some cryptic lines. I mean, the main theme of the song is clearly about the never-ending passage of time, always marching forward as we near closer and closer to our own ends. That much is clear. But I have no idea how this relates to the duo’s apparent distaste for crawling spiders. That’s fair. spiders are a bit creepy. I do relate a tiny bit too much to the rest of the song. Partly because I have a habit of planning way too many projects for myself, so even at 22 I’m already worried about my mortality. Probably over worrying myself, but it’s there.

 

The music is a bit of a step up from Morningstar in a Black Car. The bassline is definitely a couple steps higher, the melodies are a bit more memorable, and there’s a bit more depth to the song in general. Also, it does help that I find most of the vocals in this version to be a bit catchy compared to the monotone Morningstar.

 

Oh, this one also has a music video so I guess that could be worth mentioning. I’m not the hugest fan of most music videos. Usually, it’s because the video sometimes contradicts the vibe I imagine when first listening to the song. This one kind of works, as it does seem to focus on fleeting mortality, assigning countdowns to all of the people appearing in the video. Countdown to their death I presume. Then again, that means that Yasmine and Anders die at the end of the music video as they approach one another. Eh, it’s not the worst video I’ve ever seen. The general message is still there. The aesthetic is just a slight bit more edgy than I prefer. It’s honestly not all that flattering, but music videos don’t contribute to the score anyway, so this is really just an extra little thing to look at if you don’t mind a low budget edgy music video.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COtbOoes2dg

 

Ashbury Heights – Die by Numbers (8.25): Die By Numbers is one of the two upbeat originals on the album along with World Coming Down. Interestingly both songs have to do with how bleak the future is. They also both have an interesting variety of instruments used within the song. This one in particular has the best bassline on the album. There’s a smoother bouncier feel to it, and it’s always rising and falling in pitch unlike the more monotone basslines of the last two songs.

 

There’s also a fair number of synths in the song to keep the song in a constant state of variety. Most of them are quite enjoyable. There are some simple melodies in the first part of the verse and some stabs in the second part of the verse. However, there’s also a slightly scratchier… noise that comes into play along with that first melody. It’s the worst part of the song unfortunately, but the quality of the rest of the song, thankfully isn’t brought down because of it. It’s not even really that bad. I’m just slightly mixed on whether or not I dislike it. A similar synth appears in the chorus as the main, melodic hook of the song, but I think the melody helps make it a little more palatable.

 

Ok, looking at these lyrics, I’d like to offer some constructive criticism to Ashbury Heights’ method of hygiene when it comes to their hygiene. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always found that a good helping of soap and water can really get the grit and grime off the hands. I don’t frequently bathe my hands in blood, but when I do, I find it stains my hands more than anything. But then again maybe I’m doing it wrong because that only happens when I accidentally (important word to include concerning the last album) cut my finger. Does it work better when you use someone else’s blood? I’m not sure if I feel like testing. It doesn’t sound like it would work.

 

Oh wait. Silly old me. It’s probably a metaphor for how societal trends continually make the future look bleaker and bleaker. We live in a world filled with mistrust, division and violence. From what I see, it hasn’t gotten much better. Every day we move through our lives, not knowing what to do in order to reverse this trend. It’s so easy to resign to a mindset where you just assume society is flawed and can’t be fixed. And maybe it’s true. But maybe not. Maybe this division and mistrust can be turned around, provided that new generations commit to avoid following their ancestors.

 

In the meantime, our inaction only guarantees the bleak future this song predicts.

 

Ashbury Heights – Smile (7): A sickening feeling builds in my gut as I hear this love song begin playing, but that’s only because I’m reminded of the toxic nature of Three Cheers for the Newlydeads and I shudder in fear for the edginess that I’d expect from Ashbury Heights. There’s only one love song on this album (two I guess if you really want to count the remixes as separate songs) and it’s thankfully much better than any of the songs on the last album. No toxicity. No suicidal thoughts. Just a nice heartwarming song about adoration of his love’s smile. The lyrics are definitely a bit better in tone. Sure, it does sound like the singer is a bit timid in expressing how much his love means to him. It is Ashbury Heights after all. The song has to have at least the tiniest bit of edge. But timidity is a much more relatable issue to me, and I believe a relationship with a bit of timidity can still work.

 

As for music, there isn’t an excessive amount to talk about. The melodies kind of blend in with the arp which sounds like it could be a bad thing, but I feel like it works well with the flow of the song. The bassline is subtle but definitely present, though it’s kind of hard to judge how good it is, seeing as I just listened to Die by Numbers and comparing this song with that one just isn’t quite fair. But all comparisons aside, the song works well for what it is.

 

Ashbury Heights – World Coming Down (6.5): Alright let’s see if I have any bleak future existentialism left after Die by Numbers. Because World Coming Down is once again quite bleak and yet quite upbeat at the same time. In fact, I’d argue that it takes both of these aspects to greater extremes in comparison to Die by Numbers.

 

Starting off with the music, it only takes a mere 5 seconds for this song to kick into full overdrive at BPM soaring above 200. This is admittedly a bit excessive and I’d be a tiny bit more into it if the drum design was a bit better, but that snare doesn’t work very well when played that frequently. There are some points where the song dies down a bit to slower BPMs but it’s not a common occurrence. I’m not going to hold this too much against the song. Snares are kind of tricky to do after all, but I feel like this song would’ve done just fine as a kick. That’s just the drumbeat though the rest of the melodies are plenty energetic enough to fit that BPM. Whenever they are able to get the spotlight like at the very beginning of the song, the outro or any other point in the song where the snare isn’t dominating my attention. Unfortunately, that just isn’t often enough. Admirable concept, but the snare ruins it all.

 

How about them lyrics though. They are about bleak futures, right? I seem to have implied that much. And the song is called World Coming Down after all, so that doesn’t sound like the dup has the highest hopes for our future. Well, this song is incredibly clear about what it has to say and incredibly vague the rest of time. The only clear thing is that one only has to look around them to see that this world is deteriorating. The signs are everywhere. That much is clear. What’d not clear is what Anders sings of in the verses. There’s a lot of distorted religious imagery with repeated mentions of heaven, Lucifer, crucifixion and likely some others that are seeping under my radar. But what does it all mean? My only possible assumption is that the distorted religious imagery refers to how anything in this good has been distorted beyond comprehension into the mess that we find ourselves lost in. That’s kind of profound. I think I’m going to go with that. Still not fully certain though. Songs like this and Stormbringer from the last album are just impossible to figure out sometimes. Thank goodness I don’t have to review that one ever again

 

Ashbury Heights – Stormbringer (Aerial remix) (6.5): Wait…

 

So, the second half of this album is a small collection of remixes. What’s annoying is that both Spotify and the Youtube playlist I linked don’t display these songs any differently than their original counterparts. Only immediate visible difference is that this song in particular has different album art on its face (seeing as its origin comes from Three Cheers for the Newlydeads). Thankfully, with some digging I was able to find a track listing with some more details on where exactly these remixes originate from and have therefore been able to add the remixer on to the end of the title to help differentiate them from the original. This won’t help you when listening to the album in either of the linsk I provided, but perhaps it will help slightly in the second half of this review.

 

I find remixes to be a little bit trickier to review. Listening to this song in a vacuum it’s pretty alright, not too much different from what I’d rated the original. There’s a reason for that. This remix is almost exactly the same as the original. Let’s go ahead bullet point the differences

  • Intro is 5 seconds longer
  • Bridge is 5 seconds shorter
  • Verses bring the choirs more into the forefront of the song, which I enjoy.

That’s it. There’s really not much for me to say here that I haven’t already said in the original review. If you want to know my opinion of the lyrics check out what I said on the Three Cheers for the Newlydeads review. This is an example of the most disappointing type of remix. So little changes, that if you don’t compare the songs side by side you won’t notice much of a difference. This version is slightly better musically, but it’s such a slight improvement, I’m not sure if I really want to change the rating.

 

Ashbury Heights – Spiders (UnterART remix) (8): Spiders on the other hand is the good kind of remix. Instead of doing next to nothing with the song. UnterART adds his own unique spin on the song. And I say that this version is the better one of the two. Lyrics and vocals share the same vibe as last time, so I won’t go over them again, but the music is entirely different and it’s definitely an improvement.

 

The other version of Spiders was pretty good, but it was still lacking in some of the categories that this version excels in. The bassline in particular is noticeable throughout the song. In the original, the bassline was only a couple steps up from the titular song. Here however, the bassline improves a couple steps even higher with its smoother groove. In addition, there’s also a fantastic 15 section that stands out as one of the best moments in the entire album, excluding anything that happened in Die by Numbers. The original version of course, not the…

 

Ashbury Heights – Die By Numbers (Agonize remix) (2.25): Oh dear. This is unfortunate. Guess we can say goodbye to Yasmine because, Agonize decided she wasn’t worthy of this remix. Instead they decided to replace her with their own gritty pseudo-screamo vocals in the chorus. I’m sure some people are into this, but like I said in the last Ashbury Heights review, I have a limit to my edge. And overly gritty vocals can really ruin a song. Case in point. The verses aren’t as bad as the chorus. They have more of a distorted technological feel to them (think Mind.in.a.box but not nearly as good. These vocals just blend into the background and is barely noticeable).

 

I’d go more in depth with the music itself, but it’s so uninteresting, I can’t figure out anything to say about it except how it’s incredibly disappointing seeing as the original version is the best song on the entire album. This low point unfortunately brings the album down a notch. I’d rather pretend it doesn’t exist, but I’d be deluding myself.

 

Ashbury Heights – Smile (Marsheaux remix) (7): Our final remix for the album is a fairly decent one. It has a slightly different tone from the original and therefore is able to stand out unlike the Stormbringer remix. However, it isn’t necessarily an improvement like the Spiders remix (or an awful downgrade like that Die By Numbers remix). It’s really on the same level as the original, just with a focus om some new aspects.

 

For example, if we start with the bassline, it’s clearly a bit more prominent in this version, allowing for a slightly bouncier feel. Progressing onwards to the leads of the song we have one synth playing a slow-paced melody and the other playing lines upon lines of quick staccato notes. That second synth is used the most within the song, staying present throughout the whole vibe, while the other one is really only important at the beginning and the end. Instead the majority of the song replaces that melody with some variation on the bassline here and there.

 

Like I said, this is overall a fine remix. It definitely has a different vibe compared to the original, but it’s equally as good.

 

Conclusion: Overall, this album is a bit better than Three Cheers for the Newlydeads. There aren’t quite as many strong songs on this one, but the only bad song we have here is the one remix that ruined the best song on the album. Overall, that’s definitely an improvement. Still has the edge that seems to be an integral part of Ashbury Hearts style, but this one doesn’t go nearly as dark. No fantasizing about suicide and self-harm here. Just contemplating crippling mortality and the bleak future that society faces. Much more uplifting!

 

Also, worth noting is that this is Yasmine’s second and last album accompanying Anders as the female singer of Ashbury Heights. Of the three females to be part of the duo so far, Yasmine is likely my least favorite. She’d left following this album in favor of working on her modeling career. Fine by me. The vocalists improve as time goes on. I’ll talk more about them when they’re introduced.

 

But regardless of Ashbury Heights transitioning out of one age and into another, Morningstar in a Black Car turns out to be a quite good album. There’s a dip in quality here and there (Can you say Agonize?), but that doesn’t prevent the album from getting a score well above average.

 

Final Score: (6.5)

Daily Hat Track Roundup: January 2019

I’ve been posting these every day on Twitter for the past month so if you’re not following me yet, there’s a direct link in the menu if you simply scroll up. Or you could click on this one right here. Either will do. The wording of these short micro reviews may work better in a daily setting so this whole collection might seem a little disjointed but I’ll work on that tone a bit better as time progresses. Oh and at the bottom of this post I also have linked a playlist of all the 2019 Daily Hat Tracks so you can listen through that if you’d like.

 

https://twitter.com/BeretBeats

 

If you’ve already been following me for the past month, then this isn’t going to be much new content for you, but it’s a nice recap of what I’ve been listening to as of late.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 1 (Donbor – Backward): Discovered Donbor today. Fantastic discovery. I’m a bit mixed on some of his albums, but this album in particular and this song in particular is outstanding. Love the guitar in the beginning and everything else that follows

 

Daily Hat Track: January 2 (DROELOE – Looking Back (Manu Dia remix)): This remix stole the spot for today’s track minutes ago. Loved the original lyrics about the internal struggles of adulthood and this remix with music box vibes and the other melodies that greatly improved upon DROLOE’s style.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 3 (Durs – Redemption): Couldn’t hold myself back from posting psytrance for too long, now could I? This one’s got some exceptional basslines to keep me in the groove. Had a lit of fun with it on loop this evening.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 4 (Moby – Like a Motherless Child (Broken Places Remix)): Spotify’s Release Radar made sure to deliver this captivating remix to me. Broken Places does a better job of matching the emotion of the song’s lyrics than Moby himself. At least, that’s my preference.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 5 (Andy Hunter & Christine Glass – Amazing): Didn’t really discover much new music today, but that’s not gonna stop me from posting something. How about a classic? Andy Hunter was my biggest introduction to EDM and this is my current favorite song of his hailing from 2002.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 6 (The Avener & Ane Brun – To Let Myself Go): Beautiful tracks with a good drive are one of my weaknesses. Here’s a recent discovery of mine from that category. Listen carefully to every single element and instrument as you listen to this one. Because each one is a small part of a masterpiece.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 7 (Comaduster – Far From Any Road): This ominous entrancing track definitely caught my attention today. The tone of the song has nice unsettling feel to it. And the lyrics are even more unsettling so if you’re into that (I am) then make sure to give it a listen!

 

Daily Hat Track: January 8 (Ashbury Heights – November Corrosion): Embrace the break of day with yesterday still in motion

 

This song is actually about pulling an all nighter due to existential crisis. I’m posting it now because I forgotten to post a track last night so yesterday is still now.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 9 (Ecepta & Azaleh – Shadow Truths): It’s way too late for me to still be up so here’s a chill vibes Daily Hat Track that I heard today. Let us all read and rest in the shadows.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 10 (Ehrling – Groove): The main reason I live Ehrling’s stuff is the saxophone. The saxophone is likely one of my favorite instruments in existence. If you’re unaware of my love for the saxophone, then your ignorance of my saxophone loving shall soon fade away.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 11 (Torul – Ausverkauft – Frozen Plasma remix): My favorite track from today’s Release Radar is the great Futurepop synthwave combo that is this Frozen Plasma remix. Haven’t delved into the lyrics quite yet but the vibe is great regardless.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 12 (Infected Mushroom – Bust a Move): Classic Infected Mushroom song and totally not a hint at what album I’m reviewing next.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 13 (Lemon Jelly – 64 aka Go): This song is a journey in two ways. Firstly, the theme is about embarking on a lengthy journey so that’s that. Secondly, the variety within the song (especially the guitar at the end) makes it a journey through sound.

 

BONUS THREAD (worth the read I promise): https://twitter.com/BeretBeats/status/1084941640366804993

 

Daily Hat Track: January 14 (Justice – Planisphere): I’m not certain why Spotify decided to put a nearly eighteen minute song in my Discovery Weekly, but it was still well worth the time to listen to every last bit of it.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 15 (The Other Colors & Marie Mööre – Pretty Day (Remix): Today’s weird enough already so let’s add some more weird to it with this trippy edgy track with the cutest lady singing about how pretty death is as everything around her descends into madness.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 16 (Eddie Bitar & Psycrain – Vertical Poetry): Who wants more psytrance? I’m always wanting more psytrance. Eddie Bitar is a recent discovery of mine. His collabs with Psycrain are his best and this is the best of those so this is the best Eddie Bitar.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 17 (Bjørn Torske – Clean Air): Yeah, I know it’s the 18th but this is the track I meant to post yesterday and I’m sorry for being so late on it. But I ain’t gonna get stressed I’m gonna take a step back and breathe the clean air that is this beautiful track.

 

Daily Hat Track January 18 (Sean Tyas – Chrome): This week’s Release Radar was mostly a flop. This is the only one that really stands out to me. It may just be trance with pseudo-inspiring lyrics at the beginning but it’s good trance with pseudo-inspiring lyrics at the beginning

 

Daily Hat Track: January 19 (Sesto Sento – Louder): It’s getting louder and louder and louder and louder. It’s getting LoUdEr and LoUdEr and LoUdeR and LoUdEr. It’s getting LOUDER and LOUDER and LOUDER and LOUDER

 

Daily Hat Track: January 20 (Ehrling – Tequila): Is it cheating to do to Ehrling tracks in one month? Because this one has an even more energetic upbeat melody (plus more sax, always more sax, the EP is called Sax Art and it is flawless).

 

Daily Hat Track: January 21 (Ghost – He is (HEALTH remix): Today’s track has a slight bit of edge and despair to it. An emotion that might ward off some listeners but I’m definitely into it. Though as you may see this Friday, I have limits to how much edge I can take…

 

Daily Hat Track: January 22 (Henry Saiz & Band – Downfall (Overture): Great song about finding beauty within the inevitable chaos of this world while also focusing on the similarities and differences between what we dream of and what we see in reality. Plus the music is just plain ol’ good

 

Daily Hat Track: January 23 (Ashbury Heights – Penance): Finishing up Friday’s review so I haven’t listened to much else. Here’s a sneak peak of the edgiest review yet! Not the best song on the album because I’m leaving the best for later but there’s some good existentialism in here.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 24 (Etherwood – In Stillness):  What a beautiful album opener. Such a gorgeous track about slowing down in life to finally find peace.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 25 (Neelix – Mosquito (Interactive Noise remix): It got really late this Friday. Here’s a new remix of one of Neelix’s more creative songs with synths made of mosquitoes. It’s not quite as good as the original (this one is less subtle and not as majestic) but both are worth checking out.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 26 (Yanni, Marc Russell, David Scheuer & Tinatin Japordize – What You Get): Today’s track comes from a brand new discovery of mine, Yanni. Dude has a massive discography but I’ve only just brushed the surface with these genius piano melodies and the surrounding almost cosmic environment.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 27 (Royalston – Oscilla): DnB songs are always good. Take this Royalston track for example. The melodies in the middle of the song really have a soothing feel to them, but the variety the rest of the track offers is pretty great too.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 28 (The Anix – Mask): It can be quite easy to hide behind a mask. I sometimes wonder if I’m hiding under a mask even from myself (nonsense I know). Well, The Anix tackles masks in this song. If we wear a mask, what truly hides behind in the shadows?

 

Daily Hat Track: January 29 (Sesto Sento – Musik Make U Feel (Live mix)): So basically I listened to a bunch of music that would be fun to party to. Except I was working at the time so not really a party. But feel that musik. This and Louder are great tracks for getting in that partyin mood

 

Daily Hat Track: January 30 (Mind.in.a.box – The Dream): I go a little bit overboard with this guy’s stuff when reviewing. The story is real dense here so here’s a sneak peak at tomorrow’s review. Fittingly I chose the song, The Dream from the album Dreamweb.

 

Daily Hat Track: January 31 (Pendulum – Propane Nightmares): Sorry if today’s tracks seem a bit lazier. I’m trying to do my best to match the tone of each day (if that makes sense). I listened to a lot of Pendulum today and while this track isn’t a new discovery, it definitely is a classic.

 

https://open.spotify.com/user/beretbeats/playlist/4CIZYAQAzctqYqFG89HIv2?si=0ZHfkQeIQw6QhRE6vUVEmg

 

Ashbury Heights – Three Cheers for the Newlydeads (2007 album)

Album links

Bandcamp: n/a

Soundcloud: n/a

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0RbQZBV1Wh10NSrB6DPcFG?si=ic8b4FBYTuepvuvmlABJpA

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_lCW9gFlwKUIpX6qtgTJegXASSuBVcLcuM

 

Introduction: Does this look edgy enough for you? A young couple with heavy eyeliner and a monochrome? How about the fact that this young lady (Yasmine Uhlin) looks like she’s about to strangle the dude (Anders Hagström) with his own tie? The dark greenish tint to the whole decaying cover? The fact that the album title seems to imply that we’re celebrating recently deceased people? Well if you’d like to avoid the edge, I’m sorry but that’s what we’re doing this week.

 

Ashbury Heights is certainly the edgiest group in my top ten artist of all time. In fact, they have grown to be perhaps the best group for maximum edginess without going overboard. Now, some might find this a bad thing. When many people think of the word “edgy” they think of people and songs that are overwhelmingly angsty and depressing. Well, those people are absolutely right. And I love it. I’ve honestly been on the edge of edgy since I was a young lad (so about five years ago as I’m still a pretty young lad). It takes a lot to find the edge to be fully overwhelming and as long as the lyrics are down to earth enough and the vocals don’t get too gritty (See Project Pitchfork, Asethetic Perfection and especially Combichrist).

 

Of course, I did say that they reached that maximum nonoverboard edginess over time. This is the first album in their discography and it does delve quite deep into some dark themes that may make some uncomfortable, so I guess this is my warning to you.

 

Actually, you know what? That vague warning isn’t good enough. I was going to save the “revelation” for later in the review, particular discussing it at the end, but I do not want to allow you to dive into this blindly, considering its content. This album is unusually dark, even for Ashbury Heights. If I didn’t have a completionist obsession with doing each artists’ discography in chronological order, I would just skip this album entirely, not only because of some of the themes it handles (suicide in particular), but because these themes are handled very badly, so if you’d rather not read that sort of thing I’d advise you to hang tight until next week. This review could get ugly.

 

Ashbury Heights – Bare Your Teeth (6.25): Bare Your Teeth is a rather simple introduction to the album. Ignoring the lyrics (which shall be the usual focus of Ashbury Heights), the music is rather run of the mill. I’m not saying it’s mediocre or anything, but it doesn’t really do anything to exert itself. Yeah, it’s got a decent drive and some alright melodies, but I could say that about nearly any song. That doesn’t make it good. None of it stands out enough to speak of, so I’ll just move on to the meaty lyrics

 

Or they would be meaty if it weren’t hard to see where early Ashbury Heights is going sometimes, so please bear (your teeth) with me as I try and parse exactly what’s going on here and try to determine if there’s a hidden meaning to speak of. I feel that the crux of this song must surely be the line “We’re all Mad Underneath.” Maybe it’s just because that feels like one of the more existential lyrics in the song, but I feel it does fit the general theme of Ashbury Heights. When you dig deep enough into the essence of any human being, you will find flaws within. Whether you recoil in horror in the absence of perfection or find comfort in the company of the imperfect is up to you.

 

Ashbury Heights – Waste of Love (7.5): The verses on this one are definitely reaching for that edge of despair, but before we get into that, I need to talk of the music very briefly before I get distracted by the existentialism.

 

The melodies in this song are miles above Bare Your Teeth. Where Bare Your Teeth singular bouncy melody that just doesn’t quite mesh with the song in the chorus, Waste of Love has a more slowly paced melody that can be played along with Yasmine’s vocals seamlessly. Where Bare Your Teeth had a monotonic synth playing every eight beats in the verses, Waste of Love has a less energetic melody that fits in a little better with the desperate vibe this song has. It’s just an all-around better song in every aspect.

 

Speaking of desperation, Waste of Love’s verses are incredibly desperate and depressing. The angst and depression in this song is quite apparent and the whole message of the song seems to promote a bleak sense of nihilism, which is not the most uplifting message. However, the chorus does change this sentiment a bit. It’s not overt, and for all I know it wasn’t the intention, but there’s something slightly inspiring about the second half of this message. Move on from the sorrow and ride forward in life. Keep your expectations realistic. Know that you won’t always be able to keep your spirit up. But whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep striving for greatness. And offset from the grief in the verses, I can’t help but find this to be quite powerful.

 

Ashbury Heights – SmAlLeR (8): With SmAlLeR, we introduce a theme that Ashbury Heights seems to explore a lot more in the past than in the present. Relationships on the verge of breaking. This can be a bit of a problem in my enjoyment and I guess there will be some biases here and there (or everywhere) in the album because of it. This song is relatively not all that bad in comparison to some others, but there is a risk of this topic as it’s quite unlikely for me to enjoy it. So I apologize for now and in the future when I feel mixed on these songs’ lyrics.

 

I want to do everything I can to look at this song vaguely because I seem to enjoy picking songs apart and giving my own existential meaning to them, but that’s sometimes a slight bit difficult to do. I’d have to figure out who (or what) the taller man represents. Perhaps he represents the aspects of ourselves that we find discomforting and yet seem to take over our life at times, overwhelming us until our entire world seems to tower over us, threatening to collapse and bury us under the rubble. Ok, that’s actually a better interpretation than I intended to write. I think I’m going to stick with it.

 

Though if I’m to look at the song without infecting the view with my existential lenses, it’s likely the song is about a relationship in which the man appears to outgrow our singer and she begins to feel lost as her view of the world becomes less focused on the one person she’s with and more focused on the chaos of not knowing where one is going. An overwhelming chaos. Of course, this seems to imply that she’s distressed at his self-improvement instead of striving to follow in his footsteps (which is honestly a bit to negative for me. Self-improvement is something to be lauded, not frowned upon)… except the first verse speaks of his growing sadness and all-knowing tears… so yeah maybe this interpretation is wrong too… Was I actually right the first time? I was honestly just making it up on the spot.

 

Well, regardless, of what the lyrics mean, this song is once again a musical improvement. The song transitions a bit more smoothly than it has before. With a lot of focus on the bassline made up of a rapid-fire onslaught of lower notes that rise and lower to the mood of the song. They really prefer a stronger backbone for the rest of the song, including the melody. The melody feels a bit smoother too, introducing itself naturally by hiding subtly in the background when vocals are in the way and then playing a smooth descending melody. I feel it’s likely due to the synth choice, but if that synth choice works, then the song is better because of it.

 

Ashbury Heights – Stormbringer (6.5): …I have no idea what this song is about. Oh I pored over these lyrics thoroughly but I can’t find a hidden meaning behind this imagery of an apparently conscious storm with a calmness underneath. Does this represent how so many people have a harsh exterior that hides a vulnerable center? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just a story of a judgmental storm of a monster that insists on us all being well groomed and dressed nicely or it’s climb in our windows and kill us or eat us alive or something equally horrifying like suffocating our life’s dreams until our ambition shatters (actually considering what I’ve been focusing on lately, that’s the most horrifying thing I can think of).

 

So, seeing as I’m not going to receive anything but madness from these lyrics, the song stands to receive all of its judgment from being one of the faster paced songs on the album with choirs singing the distance. But what of the melodies? I speak a lot of melody work in this album, but this song has some arps that are worth mentioning too. Arps, when done well, have a great energy to them. This one is a bit subtler than some of the arps I mentioned back in the Mind.in.a.box – Lost Alone review, but I believe it complements the upbeat tempo quite well. The main melody, on the other hand, could use a bit more. It’s not bad, but it does feel a bit overshadowed by the rest of the song.

 

Ashbury Heights – Derrick Is A Strange Machine (3.25): Jealousy is quite a toxic emotion. Hidden jealousy can fester and weaken any existing bond between two people, mostly directed at the jealous person in question. Expressed jealousy won’t necessarily make the jealousy fade away. It will merely prevent the festering from fully infecting one’s mind and bring down the target of jealousy down a notch towards feeling guilty. And when you get three people involved in the jealousy in a love triangle… things get quite complicated (heaven forbid it become a love quadrilateral by introducing another party).

 

This song is all about jealousy and the singer’s opinions on Derrick. Feels like Anders may be calling out someone specific that he may be having jealousy issues with and I’m honestly finding the whole toxicity within this song to be rather off-putting. The song starts out healthily enough as he seems to be at peace with a broken relationship he has exited, but his all-consuming jealousy of Derrick and his insistence that the new boyfriend is nothing but trouble is not really all that enjoyable for me to listen to. Now, I have no clue about who is involved in this toxic love triangle or even if real people are involved. Heck, maybe Derrick truly is a strange machine that should be avoided at all costs. But for someone who continually says he doesn’t want to come between by obscenely tattling on Derrick’s past actions in an effort to ruin her love, he sure seems to do a lot of coming between by obscenely tattling on Derrick’s past actions in an effort to ruin her love.

 

Music is good though I guess, but the lyrics bring this down to the lowers score I’ve put in a review up to this point, though that might change later on…

 

Ashbury Heights – Cry Havoc (4.25): Anders, I seem to sense some hypocrisy here in these lyrics. But maybe that’s part of the point. Cry Havoc touches a bit on the toxic relationship theme of this album. In the verses, Anders calls out to a girl begging her to stop romanticizing the darkness within her soul. And yet, immediately as we get into the prechorus, the whole tone switches. Cut away at your life*** as your inner demons overtake you and savor your grievance. And then the chorus goes further to setting those monstrous demons free and let life devolve into chaos as both the singer and this girl he was begging to abandon the darkness only minutes ago embrace a life full of deception and death. Who’s romanticizing the darkness now? Like I said, hypocrisy abound in this song. And the darkness does reach levels that teeter a bit too close to the edge of max edginess. There are themes in here that I feel go down an unsafe route that one might find at the existential crossroads. And they do cause a massive deterioration in my opinion of the song.

 

So what of the music itself? The lyrics aren’t going to help very much with my opinion, but perhaps the music has some hidden within that I can enjoy. Well, unfortunately for the rating of this song, this one is rather average with the music. It does admittedly have a darker vibe to it, matching the tone of the lyrics, but how it reaches that darker tone isn’t exceptionally inspired. Basslines area bit harsher. Melodies are practically nonexistent except for this high-pitched synth that plays in the prechorus. And I don’t even really like it very much. The best part of the song is the melody in the bridge which is actually a bit more enjoyable. Also, the chorus is actually incredibly catchy, though I’d prefer if the message of the song wasn’t so mixed

 

***looking a bit closer at the cutting line, this might be referencing self-harm which I implore all to avoid under any circumstances. This is the wrong path to take. Seek something positive to overcome the darkness, find anyone you possibly can for support. I think I made it clear in that Mind.in.a.box review that you are never truly Lost Alone. No matter what, there is someone out there who understands your struggle. They might not be easy to find immediately, but they are out there.

 

Ashbury Heights – Swansong (1.25): Alright, so let’s see how dark we can go as this album progresses. Because this one is about a dying man who asks for the DJ to play one last song for him. Now, this dying man could be on his deathbed due to some severe illness… but this debut album does seem to have a fascination with the darkest parts of depression… and I fear that this death may be the end of a path filled with depression and despair. Contemplating suicide is a very dark place, one that I thankfully have been able to avoid thanks to my core values of self-improvement and change. I’m a bit concerned by the whole namedrop with this suicidal man desiring to hear a song by Ashbury Heights. Sounds like the duo sees themselves as popular with those who may turn suicidal. And I’m not certain how I feel about that. The whole song is lyrically hazy for me…

 

Perhaps we can find something in the music itself to enjoy. The main melody of this song fits the upbeat vibe quite well and I do quite enjoy the constant choir pad that is ever present in the song. There’s also a neat bassline that comes in here and there, but all of these are small elements of the song. And none of them can truly make me forgive the song for its lyrics. The audacity that Ashbury Heights has to theme this song around listening to it as one takes their final breaths is quite horrendous, which is why this song is rated so incredibly low, not because of the musical content but because of the horrifying implications.

 

Ashbury Heights – Illusion (2.5): Illusion is Ashbury Heights’ most sexual song and I don’t like it. As of this point in time, I haven’t really gone over some of the more sexual themes in music. Most of my favorite artists stay away from the topic and since I’m only reviewing my favorite artists, that makes sexual songs rare to review. But here we are. Early Ashbury Heights. They made this song and it has an uncomfortably creepy sexual theme to it.

 

So in procrastination of looking at the lyrics let’s look at the music. It’s a bit harsher than the rest of the songs on the album. There’s just a whole lot more grit to it. The drums, the bass, Anders’ vocals. Only Yasmine and a few synths are untouched by this grit and it kind of detracts from my enjoyment slightly. I can think of much worse examples of this type of edge. Ashbury Heights doesn’t go all the way to the screaming of Combichrist, but it still does irk me slightly.

 

I thought I might have something to say about the lyrics by now, but they just don’t appeal to me on any level and I can’t figure out how to explain any further than “overly creepy and sexual.” I’m sure some people out there might enjoy this type of stuff, but I’m not one of them.

 

Ashbury Heights – Angora Overdrive (6.5): Ok, so we’re back at our usually edgy Ashbury Heights love song. Well, I guess the last one was also an edgy Ashbury Heights love song, but that’s a whole different level of edgy. If each song on Ashbury Heights depicts a different relationship, this is actually one of the healthier ones. There’s very little angst here. Just two people who are devoted to each other, that feel they complete each other, that consider each other irreplaceable.

 

However, it doesn’t matter whether or not the relationship is edgy. The song is edgy anyway. No better way to start a romantic song than with the line “Porno movies could never substitute you.” It seems that Yasmine’s two verses depict the two sides of the coin when it comes to the relationship depicted here. First one is entirely physical, mostly focusing on comparisons to porn and how lust is what keeps the relationship going (at least it’s not falling apart). Second verse explores the cognitive depths of their minds more. I believe this verse tries to deconstruct what love is and fails to do so due to how complicated love can be.

 

Taking a look at Anders’ chorus there’s more of a neutral balance between the physical aspects and cognitive aspects of their love. And credit where credit is due, this works quite well, with the two drastically different verses. The meaning changes subtly depending on where you are in the song. The two are incredibly reliant each other both due to their physical needs and their cognitive needs. As edgy as the verses feel, this chorus is the most wholesome you’re gonna get from this album.

 

As far as the music goes (almost forgot about the music), it’s got a decent vibe but it’s nothing spectacular. The bassline has a good feel to it and there’s a synth that sounds slightly choirlike in the chorus that I enjoy. However, the main melody falls kind of flat for me, which really takes down much of the possible charm the song could have had.

 

Ashbury Heights – Corsair (5.5): Corsair is about doomed love. How uplifting… To be fair, it seems a lot of Ashbury Heights’ early stuff focuses on doomed love. Over time Anders and whatever female accompaniment he has at the time begin to lean towards more focus on the inner workings of the solitary mind (which I love), but for now, it’s edgy doomed for much of the album. This one in particular focuses on Anders pining over someone that might destroy his heart in the process (whether due to inaction, rejection or unhealthy relationship is unclear but none of them sound pleasant). The man constantly underestimates himself throughout the song, thinking he has no chance with her. On one hand, I’d tell the dude to just go for it, but judging from the rest of the toxic relationships on this album, perhaps he’d be better off single. But eh, that’s his decision. The lack of confidence doesn’t really help my opinion of the song though.

 

Don’t have much to say on this one musically for the most part. The melodies are mostly uninteresting. Only noticeable one is in the chorus and it’s rather repetitive. I do like the higher notes of Anders’ vocals in the prechorus though. I take a liking to male vocals that feel they suddenly reach up an octave beyond the regular range.

 

Ashbury Heights – Christ (5.25): If you think the fact that this song is named after Jesus, the son of God makes it a wholesome Christian song, then you are dead wrong. This is 2007 Ashbury Heights. Why would you expect anything else but maximum edginess? Yeah, this one goes across the edge of edgy for me like some of the other ones on the album (see Cry Havoc, Swansong and the upcoming aptly named track Suicide Anthem). However, those all cross the line in an uncomfortable way. You see, two roads diverge from that line of edginess and Christ takes the one less travelled by, and that makes it extremely laughable.

 

Yeah, this song tries a bit too hard to be edgy, but for some reason, the duo didn’t take the dark decrepit topics of the horrors of giving in to extreme depression. No, this song declares that you should praise Ashbury Heights for they’re basically your god now. Oh, but beware, they’re an evil god. SO EDGY! And I can’t help but laugh at the obscenity of the song. I apologize to Anders and Yasmine if they were trying to send some kind of message with this in the verses, but I can’t see the song as anything but a joke. A highly amusing joke, but a joke nonetheless.

 

Honestly, it’s so easy to get distracted by these likely unintentionally humorous lyrics, that I have troubles focusing on the musical details. It doesn’t really stand out but it ain’t bad either. I have nothing else to say about it.

 

Ashbury Heights – Suicide Anthem (3.25): Oh boy I wonder what this song is about? More, importantly does it handle the topic well? The answers to these questions are suicide and no. To be fair, it’s quite nearly impossible to deal with a subject as suicide with grace. It can be done, but Ashbury Heights doesn’t do it. They’re much better off backing up a bit and just dealing with existential depression itself (which they do in later albums, but we’re not talking about later albums right now, are we?). So yeah, when it comes to the lyrics, it can all be summed up as “Life sucks, No one loves me, I’m gonna go die now,” which sounds like an absolutely tasteless way to talk of suicide, but that’s exactly what this song does. It tastelessly speaks of suicide.

 

On the bright side, this song has a nice upbeat vibe with the occasional good melody. So, I’ll give it credit for that. Then again, Yasmine’s vocals are extra annoying this time around so any enjoyment this song is kind of negated by her (and the tasteless suicide).

 

Ashbury Heights – Penance (7.75): Huh, Penance is actually good. I mean, I shouldn’t be too surprised. There had already been several other good songs on the album, but the last several have been embarrassments to my claim of Ashbury Heights being one of my favorite artists/groups. But this song takes a step back into the right direction. Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s still edgy, but I can’t really expect Ashbury Heights to not be edgy. I think they have only one song that I’d consider to be fully wholesome and it took over a decade for them to reach that point. At least this one talks of slightly brighter topics. Like how there’s suffering all around the world and we’re teetering on the edge of nihilism due to our brief mortality (Fun!).

 

I will agree that the world we live in is certainly more than imperfect. It can be easy to get caught up in the suffering and deception frequently mentioned within the song. Even the purest things can get distorted over time if not properly cared for. And if you look at the world from a religious standpoint, one might fear that the devil is in more control of the world than God (which, in a way, is true to the religion of Christianity, which advises followers to aspire not to live the ways of this flawed world. Of course, this song goes a few extra miles with that idea and claims God has abandoned us, which doesn’t quite match up as well). Regardless of how you view the world with this song in mind, it looks like the world is deteriorating and if we don’t do anything to change it, the world will continue to deteriorate into nothingness…

 

The music in this song is also pretty good, the main melody has a slightly chilling feel to it and the arp works well with the drumbeat to provide a good drive to the song. My only gripe, and maybe I’m crazy (wouldn’t be the first time), is that I have this weird feeling that the arp resembles Megalovania despite predating that song by several years. It’s such an odd association and it doesn’t necessarily detract from the song regardless of whether or not the resemblance is there. I only mention it because I want to check and see if anyone else can hear what I’m saying or if I’m just crazy.

 

Ashbury Heights – I Paint Nightscapes (8.5): I Paint Nightscapes is about the very lowest moments in life. The moments where not only depression has a hold on you, but it’s nearly suffocating. The darkest one can go, without resorting to the less savory themes in this album (you know the ones. I’ve been complaining about their callousness for quite a while now).

 

Seeing as my enjoyment of the song mostly stems from the lyrics, I’m going to skip talking about the music and focus solely on vocals (not saying the music is bad, it’s just overshadowed. Even my favorite nonlyrical part of the song is the backing vocals in the chorus. Guess the piano bit in the bridge is cool too). This song, as you may have noticed from the rating, is certainly the most outstanding on the album, mostly because it actually resembles the message and tone that I love from more modern Ashbury Heights songs. Yes, it’s overall kind of depressing, which is fairly normal for Ashbury Heights. I feel like they’re best as an accompaniment to those low moments one experiences, those moments when it feels like the grip of negativity is unflinching and you’d give anything to reach a reality in which you could view your life more positively. This song truly focuses on those deepest depths of depression without actually going overboard, which if you remember from my introduction a while back in this review, is precisely why I consider Ashbury Heights to be among my favorites in the first place. This album doesn’t necessarily reflect that love, but this song definitely does.

 

Ashbury Heights – Eternity at an End (5.75): Eternity at an End is a great name for a closing song of an album, which is good because this is the closing song of the album. However, unfortunately, the lyric that really strikes me most here is “Long live mediocrity” and the only reason I’m pointing out that one is because it fits the whole mediocre feeling I have towards this song. Well, maybe a bit better than mediocre (as that’s my definition for a 3/5), but it does feel like it’s rather run of the mill. The tempo of the song is quite average, neither reaching those higher tempos like in Stormbringer or I Paint Nightscapes, nor the slower tempos like in Waste of Love or Cry Havoc. And while I do enjoy the arp… I always enjoy arps, The rest of the song is mostly unremarkable. I just like arps.

 

As for the lyrics, it’s a fairly bleak song. You can’t do anything in this mediocre world. There is no god and there is no meaning. Life is going to end and there is nothing you can do about it. Honor is dead and someday you will be too. And while it is easy to get caught in this line of thinking in this hectic world, I highly do not recommend it from experience. Because if you strip all meaning away from the world around you, what is left when even eternity ends?

 

Conclusion: And so, concludes the worst album of Ashbury Heights. This is one of those times where I begin to reconsider whether or not it truly is a good idea to do each discography in chronological order, but clearly, I did it because here we are. There are a few gems here and there dotted throughout the album. SmAlLeR and I Paint Nightscapes are both fantastically introspective songs. However, anything that is good in this album is cancelled out by another song that is downright awful like Swansong and Suicide Anthem.

 

And those awful songs really kill the album, holding it back at an average rating despite having some pretty solid songs. I believe the worst song of the album is definitely Swansong, not because of its musical quality, but because of how it paints the rest of the album. I believe that suicide is a very sensitive topic that should be handled with care and caution. The overwhelming callousness displayed in this album worries me of the possibility that someone might choose a song like Suicide Anthem as their swansong as they head to their self-inflicted death. I think I’ve made this clear several times in this review, but I feel quite strongly against suicide and while I’m sure my reach as a small blogger with giant music reviews is small, I would like to do my best to urge you to give life another shot. It can always get better even when all seems hopeless.

 

Final Score: (5.5/10)