Albany Down: Born In The Ashes Review

We’ve had to wait a magnificent seven years (conveniently blanking the pandemic from my memory) for album number four from UK blues-rock trio Albany Down. Such is the amount of time that’s elapsed, it begs the question, would ‘Reborn In The Ashes’ have been a more apt title for this 13-track LP? What has risen from the remnants is a huge sound that’s both original and contemporary.

Born In The Ashes was recorded at the legendary Rockfield studios, where Queen recorded their immortal mini rock opera “Bohemian Rhapsody”. They’ve once again called on producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers, INME) to deliver a kind of magic. While I don’t see a little silhouette of a man, what I can hear are the ripe fruits of a creative partnership that has been present throughout their entire catalog — including their third album “The Outer Reach” that was voted the fifth best album of 2016 by Blues Rock Review.

First single “Always Want You Can’t Have” serves up quality rock from the off with a saw-toothed riff and heart filling chorus about those always craving ‘a bigger piece of the pie.’ Its catchy without ever threatening to join the commercial scrap heap, helped by a thumping rhythm section and a slice of monstrous guitar work from singer and guitarist Paul Turley.

“Same Damn Thing” has a Motown vibe with its uppercut horns and a groove to die for. If you’re stuck in a rut, this upbeat number will dance you away from the song’s theme of being wedged in a world of worry that doesn’t appear to have an off switch.

“The Memory Of What Used To Be” is etched with the soothing, soulful pipes of Cat Wyn Southall. Turley’s guitar tone on the beautiful solo won’t fade from your headspace either.

Drummer Pete Hancock shines on the bluesy “Reflections” as he expertly punctuates Turley’s stop-start riffing and waves of Hendrix-esque distortion. It tinges with sadness, as it contemplates the paths in life we choose to pass us by.

Just when you think the title track “Born In The Ashes” is arguably the heaviest on the album, with a beast of a chorus and some glorious bluesy licks (especially on the outro) big enough to get the fire going again, it’s surpassed by the attitude and dynamism of “Darkest Day”.

The rock ‘n’ roll energy continues on “Don’t Look Back”, with Turley producing another cracking riff to match the high-octane backing. They do manage to squeeze in a heartfelt ballad with “This Heavy Soul”, but the change in pace doesn’t weigh heavily, with Turley’s emotive vocals matched by his weeping (yet sublime) guitar work.

Hancock’s crisp drumming sounds crystal clear on closer “Let Your Love Shine”, with bassist Ben Atkins again showing himself as the dream cohort. They lock down another rock solid rhythm, leaving Turley to spread positivity (both lyrically and through his guitar) on this meaty love song.

Albany Down are masters at nailing a heavy groove that’s catchy, but without being overly radio-friendly. Their sound is extremely digestible, but still has nuances of classic acts like Hendrix and Led Zep. Refreshing and rocking (for the most part), Albany Down have risen from the ashes — surely the only way is up.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Always Want What You Can’t Have
– Same Damn Thing
– Born In The Ashes

The Big Hit

– Born In The Ashes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bulk Email Sender