Ashes To Ashes
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Ashes To Ashes

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Reviewed by: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck, December 2003

Man! I love this group. They rock, they're funny, and most of all, they are uniquely inventive and original. Ashes To Ashes comes at you a little Harder Faster this time out on their new release. The CD is loaded with extras including videos, a game, Mp3's, well let me put it this way ... there is a lot to take in. I am not a gamer so I had to ask Ed Beeler (bass) how to unlock the videos; it's really not that hard but I make it so with my impatience, plus I am slightly retarded when it comes to games. I just wanted to get to all the music! There is also Q & A with group members, you just click on their images and they answer some stupid questions, but that is what makes it so funny. I have to admit, it is entertaining. These guys are out to have fun so they do everything full throttle and have a blast doing so. It is up to you whether you want to come along for the ride. If you just want to hear the CD tracks then that's cool, if you want to hear all the great MP3's and have a little fun on your PC then you need to install the software to make it happen, which by the way is perfectly safe and you can uninstall it after you are finished with everything.

You would think that there would be some inconsistencies with 24 tracks of music. Its not so, the entire CD, extras and all, are excellent. The lyrics can be gruesome and weird but I think it stems from the boys watching too many horror and science fiction flicks. It really does not matter though, when the disc stops turning you feel compelled to play it again. I listened to it three times in one day. This is a very progressive band. Not in the sense that they belong in that genre but because of how they approach their studio projects by covering many appealing aspects of entertainment all on one CD. For three men they certainly are able to generate vast amounts of energy and sound. Andrew Bell is the creative genius as well as their impassioned lead singer and purveyor of six-string magic, Beeler does the background voices and such while pounding out fat bass lines, and Dave Campbell holds up the bottom end valiantly with a commanding beat for the rest of the sounds to cruise on to complete each musical cycle. If you prefer your music a little harder and faster than most you will love this band.

The best tracks in my humble opinion are the title track "Harder Faster," "Ashes To Ashes," "Temporary," and "Mind On." My favorite MP3'S are "Run Man Run," "Death Groove," and "Couch of Addiction."

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if you do not buy this CD your collection is a bust! - Musicdish.com


Now this is rock and roll! What a totally ass kickin' trio Ashes To Ashes is. "Big Moving Parts" is a real solid recording, and I mean for the entire length of the CD. For just three guys, man do they make some noise. 'Darkside' goes from first to fifth gear in the beat of heart. Strap in your seat belts after that because it doesn't slow down, it's just the beginning. After rocking my soul so satisfyingly from tracks one through eight, 'Times Ten' (track nine) and 'Bury Me' (track 10) reminded me of one of my all time favorite groups, 10cc. Now that's not an easy thing to impress upon me. 10cc was enormously talented and they had a very distinct sound. The special thing about this group is the way the immensely multi-talented Andrew Bell can play such a vicious guitar and not sound the same when he sings. He gives the hard rockin' music some polish with his great set of pipes. Dave Campell thumps away on the drum kit keeping time with Edd Beeler on bass (and other voices as the liner notes state) to make this trio a complete unit that's firing on all of their cylinders. This is one of the better indie rock CDs that I have heard all year. The burning flame and freedom of independent music is the lifeblood of this writer. I wish there were more bands out there with the talent and fire in their hearts that this group has.

This is the complete multimedia package with no exceptions. The enhanced portion of the CD comes complete with videos, an interview, and even a game. The video is quality too, not some crap Quicktime flick that looks like a visual record skipping. There is also a bonus song called 'Radio Red', which is another excellent rocker, which is performed in a video that you will not hear when you play the CD on your stereo.

Ah yes, rock and roll doesn't get much better than this, and neither does the entire musical experience that can be found on one disc. If you miss out on this you be passing up a truly righteous rock and roll occurrence. - Musicdish.com


They've revved up crowds for Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, the Scorpions and Blue Oyster Cult.


A week ago, Ed Beeler, Andrew Bell and Dave Campbell kicked off a rib and music festival outside Heinz Field, warming up the audience for headliners Tesla.

Beeler, Bell and Campbell - from Kilbuck, Moon and Hopewell townships, respectively - compose Ashes to Ashes, a power-rock trio that dreams of someday, itself, being a national band.

They feel they've got a one in 10 chance, as a finalist in the Jim Beam Rock Band Search. In October, sponsors of this Internet battle-of-the-bands will announce which of the 10 bands received the most online votes.

If Ashes to Ashes wins, the trio will earn $10,000, and get to perform for New York City music industry officials in a showcase concert co-sponsored by Jim Beam and Rolling Stone magazine.

A national tour promoted by the bourbon maker likely would follow.

In the meantime, Ashes to Ashes will continue cultivating a loyal fan base, with periodic shows at bars like the Mousetrap in Bavington and the Stardust Lounge in Moon, where the group performs July 13.

Ashes to Ashes' upcoming gigs will feature songs from the prolific group's sixth CD, "Harder Faster," sold at various area music stores, including the CD Warehouse at the Pointe at North Fayette and the Sam Goody's in downtown Pittsburgh. The 10-song CD-ROM includes interview clips and a video game created by Bell and the band's production assistant, Dave Cowder.

The video game will amuse computer geeks, but it's the songs on "Harder Faster" that impress the most.

Bell's crunchy guitar riffs and Campbell's punchy drumming give Ashes to Ashes a crackling, hard-driving sound that rises far above the "nu-metal" morass plaguing modern-rock. Campbell almost gives an alt-country stomp to the song "Ashes." On "Drain," Bell uses synthesized guitar effects reminiscent of Judas Priest's "Turbo Lover."

There's a nifty timbre to Bell's voice that makes Ashes to Ashes songs distinctive. He sounds bewildered, a bit amused but never too flustered as he ponders aloud the intricacies of relationships.

Beeler add backing vocals that give the band a nice melodic touch, like Cheap Trick in its heyday.

Pittsburgh concert and music festival promoters regularly turn to Ashes to Ashes when they need a solid modern-rock band, with a classic-rock vibe, to open up a show for a famous touring band. Those early arriving fans get treated to one of western Pennsylvania's best unsigned groups - a trio that hopefully will get to expose its music to a wider audience someday. - Beaver County Times / Scott Tady


This is gonna sound wacky, but the thing that struck me most immediately about Ashes to Ashes doing their new 10 tracks of Harder Faster - is their superior diction. Not only can I understand every word (unless you count the electronic distortion of 'Ashes'), but I can hear all the letters in the words. To compliment them further, if ever there comes to Broadway a hard rock or metal musical, I sincerely suggest Ashes to Ashes be the first interviewed for the stage work.

Their blend of melodic rock, with a beat that doesn't smash the head but enhances the headache like early, unrestrained Beatles (mixed with Helter Skelter guitar), is a serious anomaly among current harder rocking bands. Is it that they're trying to bridge the gap between those with orange hair and tattoos and those of us without 'em? They seem to have the bad attitude of louder music, without actually knocking walls down with Iron Maiden rhythm.

Yet you can't call 'Falling' rock n roll. And 'Bed' may have the spook of Alice Cooper, but it's more like a haunted house in a theme park: you know you're not going to Die, but it's nice to get the thrill for a while.

Because of that, I love the music.

Andrew C. Bell - vocals, guitars
Dave Campbell - drum
Ed Beeler - bass, voice

Their pictures may look intimidating, but their music is not. Even a % of timid folks can reach out for Ashes to Ashes and embrace the sounds that come from this too short cd. Yeah, it's only a little over half an hour in length, but has solid songwriting from this PA band, given with honest recklessness. Recommended. - Musicdish.com


By Ed Masley, Post-Gazette Pop Music Critic

"Do we sound modern yet?"

Band Site
Ashes to Ashes

Ed Beeler of Ashes to Ashes is laughing, but he seems to want an answer anyway.

"I think it's pretty modern," he says. "We don't have a scratch DJ or anything. But it's no different than the Goo Goo Dolls. Or American Hi-Fi. A guitar, bass, drums, vocals. Isn't that what most bands are about? I've heard a lot of weird comparisons -- 10cc, for example, a band I never really listened to."

On the eve of releasing the Pittsburgh-area band's new album, "Harder Faster," Beeler says he'd take the stage with any modern band.

Or almost any modern band.

"We're probably not a good fit with Korn, and I certainly don't think we fit on Ozzfest," Beeler says. "But Andrew W.K. is at Ozzfest, isn't he? And that's an '80s thing as far as I can tell. Everyone's been calling us '80s for years, and then something like that comes out and all of a sudden it's cool again? That's a little aggravating."

Not that Beeler has much reason to be aggravated lately.

In October, Ashes to Ashes -- led by guitar-playing vocalist Andrew C. Bell -- advances to the finals of a national Internet band search run by jimbeammusic.com. Earlier this year, it was the site's band of the week, for which the members won $1,000 and a $250 gift certificate to a music store.

If they take the finals, they'll win 10 grand.

For now, Beeler is doing European press and radio for "Harder Faster," having made his share of European contacts last year when the U.K. label Escape reissued the self-released "Big Moving Parts."

"It was kind of a money grab," he says of the European deal. "You get your money up front from labels based outside the States. It was a considerable amount of money for 12 songs. I'm still trying to get an idea of the numbers that we actually sold. I communicate with them regularly, but, obviously, they're on the other side of the world. So you kind of take your money and do a lot of interviews."

The new CD, which also features some pretty impressive CD-ROM extras designed by Bell, is the band's sixth album in just eight years. And to Beeler's ears, they haven't changed so much as gotten better.

"We've always kind of done what we do," he says. "But I think it's definitely developed into something over the past three albums. We have a sound now. And it's going somewhere. We're not gonna give up. I believe in us. I hope the industry will find a place for us somewhere."

Tomorrow night in Bavington, the band will perform a 10 p.m. show at the Mousetrap (724-796-5955), where they're joined by Full Effect. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


Ashes to Ashes are a three piece out of Pittsburgh; USA and they are going to hit you hard with their brand of rock music. They are very polished and professional, and difficult to categorize. Some would say loud rock, some hard pop, it doesn't really matter as Ashes to Ashes are very active and talented and will have you hooked like a fish. The cornerstone of the band are bassist Ed Beeler and songwriter Andy Bell, the line-up is completed by the addition of Dave Campbell on drums. They have honed their music to solid perfection, combining infectious, catchy hooks with a modern rock sound that have the pop appeal of Cheap Trick and the aggression of Collective Soul. This is high-energy music with mass commercial appeal. - NEH Records


Discography

6 indie discs on our own label, ATABOY! Records, one release in Europe via Cargo Music. Lots of downloadable tracks available on our website, ataboy.com

Photos

Bio

The beauty of Ashes To Ashes is their understanding that life's treasures can be found in the journey, and enjoyed in the results of relentless hard work and sacrifice. A melange of influences, the members of Ashes To Ashes joined forces to create a unique rock band who's final touches have been added by live performance experience, and the continual production of true music, banging out 6 independent discs in 7 short years of existence. These musicians join the rich lineage of rock bands that are essentially dysfunctional families who are unfathomably, yet brilliantly held together by the mathematician's "X"

Ashes To Ashes songs are an ode to grow beyond your immediate impressions of the way things are. The end result being a better grasp of one's state of self-awareness and understanding. Singer Andrew C. Bell says, "Any true pursuit is difficult at times and will entail struggle and sacrifice, whatever your goal in life may be. With Ashes To Ashes, the goal was simplicity. We aim to present the music and emotions in a manner unencumbered by too much complexity."

Ashes To Ashes passion for music is powerfully presented in the live arena, driven by the dynamic rhythm section of bassist Edd Beeler and drummer Dave Campbell. While possessing the ability to assault the audience with raw energy and physicality, it is also Ashes To Ashes intention to move the listener from the inside out - to provoke them emotionally and cerebrally.

Singer/guitarist Andrew C. Bell and bassist Edd Beeler met at the notorious Brother's Grimm Night Club in suburban Pittsburgh, PA, both fresh out of college, green and ready for action. Beeler described the meeting, "We had a conversation after the band's set, I was looking to join an act, he was looking for a new bassist. It turned into a three-day party, and we ended up jamming in Andy's basement. I literally walked into the band at this club, and we've been at it ever since!" Two years later, performing with a drummer they were looking to unload, Bell and Beeler ran into a rather loud gentleman at a club who proclaimed, "I'm going to be your new drummer, don't worry about it," and drummer Dave Campbell fell into the fold.

Strangely, for Beeler, the working class surroundings of Pittsburgh offered the group a challenge. "We've tried everything to change the blues of Pittsburgh, but it still often wanted to defeat us with mediocrity. It's a slow town for being large, but in time, it has come around to understand our great music."

It is within that nightclub and concert hall scene that Ashes To Ashes has honed their pure rock sound. Constantly at odds with the heartland sound and alterna-copies of area bands, Ashes To Ashes harder and harder work turned to gold, with one CD after another churning out of their new studio. While clearly a rock band, Ashes To Ashes did not escape the influences of the pop radio, giving birth to their occasional use of dance rhythms and electronics. The travels of Ashes To Ashes have taken them all over the east coast, and they show no signs of being unhappy about that situation. Beeler explains, "We're America's next great rock band, and there is so much in that. We are genuinely excited about traveling the country and the world, playing our music, and gaining greater insight into this society."

It would seem fair to say, by virtue of their individual and collective attitudes and drives, that an almost nomadic party quality resides at the heart of Ashes To Ashes. In a sense, you could see them as perennial hard working individualists that live life like 21st century hobos. Perhaps this goes some ways to explaining the band's underlying themes of self-confrontations, transformation, evolution, and acceptance.