Michigan band Five Hundredth Year released back in June a seven-track EP titled A Rose from Ashes. The band’s heavy-hitting, yet melodic modern hard rock style and three levels of vocals—hoarse male, melodic male, and harmonizing female—has helped them gain many fans.
The band’s comfort with its identity is reflected in the way they jump straight into it with opening number “Awaken in Silence”, which features chugging guitars, slick drumming, and a combination of passionately sung and hoarsely yelled lyrics underlined during the chorus by harmonizing female vocals. It’s a very typical and well executed hard rock track that reflects the talent of band members John Pampreen (lead vocals), Ben Moss (lead guitar), Jonathan Immers (guitar), Brenda Bennett (bass, backing vocals), Mike Heil (keyboard, backing vocals), and Zach Hanus (drums).
“Blame” is at times gritty and harsh, only to become quite melodic and almost gentle. It’s almost a battle between light and dark or hope and despair that could have to do with any addiction. It could also be touching on other aspects of regular life, which will no doubt make lyrics such as “I’m falling apart/This addiction takes its toll/How can I let this go?” and “Like a drug/I just can’t quit/I’ve given everything for this” resonate with many.
Things were already quite heavy and heady up to this point, but just like before one reaches a breaking point, everything is taken to an even higher, more intense level in the third number entitled – you guessed it – “Breaking Point”. It’s interesting that the attention to details that have already made their mark in previous tracks are still present despite the intensity, and the use of almost delicate female backing vocals this time emphasize the intensity rather than to provide a contrast.
By now, listeners are pretty attuned to what the band has to offer and can enjoy the increasing complexity of the song structure in “Reflection”, where alternating intense and calm moments return, and on “Stand Up”, which has a certain extra darkness to it. The cover of Tove Lo’s “Talking Body” is a wonderful combination of the original’s synthpop feel, especially at the beginning of the cover, and Five Hundredth Year’s intensity.
The EP ends on “Violent Descent”, which makes for quite the double entendre. Videos are available for streaming on YouTube. More information about the band is available on their Facebook page and by following their Twitter account.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.