by Thomas Bedward September 04, 2020
One of the most prolific, brash, and relentless artists that the Australian independent scene has to offer, Imbred has taken a rare pause in producing original material to re-master, re-record, and re-release some of his old albums. A clever move than aligns perfectly with his shift to Spotify, Imbred has already given the rejuvenating touch to previous album ‘IV’, and now it’s time for one of his most bold and divisive albums to get the same treatment.
His eighth album in the original run, ‘Ashes’ is a dense collection of tracks infused with the dark reality and enduring hardships that Imbred has faced in life. Touching on topics like his depression, drug use, lingering apathy, and constant self-doubt, it’s a visceral, reflective and relentlessly quick tour of his unique and damaged world.
Rearing its head with ‘Shrooms’, the album kicks off in familiar fashion with a fierce DIY spirit and crash of caustic, grunge-fuelled sounds. It’s a harsh return, but one that we’ve come to enjoy, and while Imbred’s vocals might still land flat or falter at the elevated notes, its easy to see the improvement in his production and recording, blunting the harsher sounds and making the experience more engaging. As ‘Shrooms’ fades, the moment of truth arrives, and thankfully as ‘Lazy’ begins, that distracting, high-pitched whine is nowhere to be heard.
Free from distraction, it's easy to enjoy the album for what it is, a brutal slice of post-rock anthemics that’s driven by a true punk energy. Second cut ‘Lazy’ has a dynamic, shifting sound and a chorus that you can generally enjoy, while tracks like ‘Sweet Leaf’ and ‘Apathy’ ring with a classic metal influence, including some intriguing falsetto vocals and a welcome, but brief guitar solo. Elsewhere, ‘Loser’ glides through your speakers with a newfound melody, before the title track closes everything with an avant-garde wash of static.
With a far cleaner sound and vastly improved production, ‘Ashes’ has moved from a mess of broken sounds to a truly engaging release, one that offers a variety of thrills, styles, and sounds that all come together to make that unique Imbred sound. An impressive realisation of what should have been the first time round, ‘Ashes’ has finally become one of his best releases.
You can stream ‘Ashes’ today on Spotify, along with the rest of Imbred’s expansive discography.
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