No Hot Ashes are a rock band who formed in Norther Ireland back in 1983, and they’re about to release their self-titled debut album. Yes, I said debut album! After issues with their old record label, in 1990 the band called it quits but reunited for a one off tribute show in 2013. After they reunited, No Hot Ashes’ popularity snowballed and they signed to Frontiers Records.
The band is made up of Tommy Dickson on keyboards, Steve Strange on drums, Eamon Nancarrow on vocals, and guitarists Niall Diver and Davey Irvine. Sadly, bassist Paul Boyd lost his long battle with cancer in January 2017 but he is still featured on the album, and it his dedicated to his memory.
Come Alive is the opening track of the album, and you can immediately tell that this is a band that began in the 80s. Musically, this track is reminiscent of the rock bands of the 80s like Foreigner and Journey. There’s a killer guitar solo around the 2.20 mark that is going to make you want to air guitar, and if it doesn’t then you’re not listening to it right. It’s a great high energy track, and a fantastic album opener.
Next up is Good To Look Back, is another ear-pleaser musically, with Eamon Nancarrow showing off his impressive vocal skills with some soaring lower tones, and some incredible highs. This track also seems to have some country influences, a little bit Thin Lizzy, and a little bit Garth Brooks.
Satisfied is track three and those Garth Brooks vibes are back. This track risks being really repetitive in parts but there is several little hooks and melodies that cover it up and give subtle differences. Track four is Boulders and it’s the first vastly different track on the album. Boulders is a class 80s rock love song, full of power ballads and power chords. There’s an influence of Extreme’s ‘More Than Words’ in this track in terms of structure, but overall it’s a great listen.
Next up is I’m Back, and it brings back the rock’n’roll. There’s a soaring high note to start the track off and is overall a really vocally impressive track. It’s another track that is different to the rest of the previous songs, especially from the slower Boulders which it immediately follows. If you like guitar solos, there’s a great one in this song that starts off at around the 2.40 mark. Next is Glow and we’re back to the repetitiveness that we had in the first three album tracks. It’s not a bad song, but it’s the same as others on the album.
Over Again is track seven and it seems to be the hybrid child of a ballad, but a rock song at the same time. It’s one of those tracks that you can listen to if you need something to help you vent your anger about, but something that has a beat that is soft enough to almost be easy listening. Over Again could also be in place of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For A Hero’ in the tractor chicken game from Footloose and still have the scene make perfect sense.
Track eight brings us Johnny Redhead and is for me, the stand out track on the album. It’s fast, loud, in your face and full of angst. If you;r ehaving a bad day, crank the volume and let this one help you get your anger out. There are several impressive vocal melodies, and an epic guitar solo that make this track pop. I had to listen to it twice to review because I was enjoying it too much.
The second to last track is Souls which honestly is a bit of a let down after Johnny Redhead. While Johnny Redhead brings the difference and variety of sound that this album was so desperately craving, Souls is back to being the same as the rest. Again, it’s not a bad track, there just isn’t really anything special about it.
Last we have Running Red Lights which opens up with intensity and energy that I honestly wasn’t expecting. While not completely different from what we’ve already heard, it is different enough that it doesn’t sound too samey. If this track was the final one to be played at a live show, it would be the kind of track that leaves the audience wanting more. The energy continues throughout in both the music and the vocals. Nancarrow really outdoes himself with his soaring high notes in this one and overall, it’s a great way to finish off a record.
Pre-order your copy of ‘No Hot Ashes’, out March 23rd via Frontiers Records HERE!