- Genre: 'Rock'
- Release Date: '11th January 2019'
Worcester trio State of Ember take their cues from Alter Bridge, Shinedown and INME and are all about the big riffs and equally big choruses. And what this EP’s six cuts may lack in innovation, they do make up for in energy.
It’s refreshingly grungy, not only in terms of the music, but the production, which is dense and a shade grainy, not too crisp and polished. I’d poised myself to reference fitting comparisons from the 90s and render my observation by highlighting the processed, produced sound of, say, ‘Nevermind; with something else contemporaneous, but to do so would be reductive. More depressingly, as the 90s recede further toward the rear-facing horizon of my youth, I realise that the specifics that render the general backdrop of the guitar-driven zeitgeist have sort of melted into a sonic soup of MTV-curated US alt-rock selections, stuff I heard in a mate’s van, and ropey bootlegs overheard at record fairs. My recollection of the music of the era beyond the bands I actually liked – and I was always selective (I never dug Soundgarden or Pearl Jam, for example) – is pretty much a boiled-down impressionistic notion of guitar-driven sonic wallpaper served with varying shades of angst and credibility.
In some respects, they do themselves a disservice by opening with ‘Time and Time’; the most overtly commercial song on the EP, with the big chorus and melodic hook, it’s got the least guts and fails to showcase the band’s sound or style, so it’s not until second track , ‘Fear of Falling’ that they really show their form. The riffs on ‘Made Up My Mind’ and ‘Reasons’ – which sit back-to-back are a bit similar to one another, but both have some guts, and the way they step up the angst and the tempo for the latter creates an upward-curving arc in the overall listening experience.
It’s a pretty damn solid release – and it’s a good job there’s nothing remotely salacious or seedy about the cover art to detract from that.