Released: Jun 29, 2004
Number Of Tracks: 11
By Meltdown, Ash were establishing a pattern: each odd-numbered album has been a difficult, rockier affair, while each even-numbered album showed off their sublimely poppy side.
UG Team, on september 23, 2005 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: It's always nice to see people, being under forty and still feeling young inside. It gives you a hope that life doesn't necessarily become boring when you get older. I've got the same feeling when I listened to the new album by Ash -- guys are in their late twenties, but it feels like nothing changed in their souls since they were 18, when they first launched on album. They didn't become boring assholes, they didn't start to make "wise" songs. They just rock with the energy only teenagers can have and they have just proved that with "Meltdown." It's the first album release since their 2001 "Free All Angels," which got numerous awards. Awards in the UK. UK bands always had hard time getting big in the States, unfortunately, Ash is no exception. The new album was released in May 2005 on Record Collection -- another American record company -- their fifth in five albums. "Meltdown" was recorded in the LA studio, where Nirvana was working on their "Nevermind," produced by Nick Rasculincz, who previously worked with Foo Fighters and Queens Of The Stone Age and mixed by Rich Costey (Audioslave). Their influence is obvious. Due to the band's desire to hit American market, the album has some typically American sounding -- like teenage punkrock appearing here and there through the record.
Most songs on the album have sing-along melodies on the backbone of heavy riffs. Drum beat is always stamping, which makes the songs be fun to listen to. Even though the music is guitar-driven, Rick McMurray's drums deserve a lot of attention. Think at least about that drum roll in "Detonate." I mean, how he played it? "Shockwave" reminded me of the old Underworld song "Born Slippy." The way Tim Weeler says "Give me love, give me love love..." sounds very close to Underworld's "Drive boy dog boy dirty numb angel boy." The song also has the most primitive drum solo. "Clones" is the probably the most discussed song on the album. It's the attempt to make "serious" music -- the one that can change your point of view, but I guess the problem is that it's not what everybody's waiting for from Ash and Weeler is much better in writing "fun" music. It's also the most heavy and aggressive track and it has the best riffs on the record. I don't see anything horrible in this track, as most Ash fans. Take it easy, guys. The guitar intense of the album is diluted by the only ballad "Starcrossed" right in the middle. It starts with squeaky guitar, which saves the song from being sugary sweet. "Orpheus," the first single from the album, kicks off with awesome energy, but somehow managers to loose it by the first chorus. // 10
Lyrics: If you expect something serious or heavy from Ash's lyrics, you would be disappointed. They're not pretending for anything, just making fun of writing lyrics. There are a couple of songs on the record though with an attitude -- "Clones" and "Meltdown." As in all their previous albums, here Ash uses a lot of weird rhythms and words, which is their exquisite trademark. Weeler may not have the best vocal abilities in the world, but he has his own manner of singing, which is much more important. His sharp voice suits the band's style perfectly. // 10
Overall Impression: I started listening to "Meltdown" being in a very pissy mood, but after a few track I was thinking "What the f--k am I worrying about? Everything's f--ing great!" The record gives you an awesome confidence, that doesn't matter how much shit happens in your live, you're strong enough to go through that. The explanation of that "hidden message" the album has may be in Tim Weeler's mood when he was writing songs for the album. Ash's singer/guitarist once joined February peace marches where "you go on a walk with two million people and it doesn't seem to make a difference." Quite frustrating, huh? That inspired him to write 14 songs for the new album. All them are impressively well-written and brilliantly played and produced.
I was freaked out by the tattooed CD sleeve reminds more of Motley Crue, than power-pop Irish vets. Not that I don't like it, it's a wonderful CD art, but I've got doubts it suits the album.
The record doesn't have any obvious catchy tunes, that stay in your head forever since you first hear them. That helps "Meltdown" to sound like something new after you've listened to it a thousand times. // 10
Ababil_Albarn, on september 29, 2004 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Ash suprised us all by delivering the (relatively) heavy single "Clones" with its accompanying video but it would be misleading if you took the single as a sample of the album, in truth "Meltdown" is still what an Ash record is defined by pop (which isn't necesserily a bad thing). The guitar work of Wheeler and Hatherley has improved significantly from previous Ash records implimenting heavier distortion and an array of effects shown in the lead single "Clones", the title track, and "Orpheus". But pointed out in the power-balladish "Starcrossed" and the happy "Out of the Blue", Ash isn't going to change that drasticly (as Radiohead did from "OK Computer" to "Kid A"). For the record, the change in sound is a good thing for Ash; It sets them apart from other British psudo-punkers such as Busted and McFly... to some extent even removing themselves from the danger of genelazition with other pop-punk bands completely. // 8
Lyrics: Tim Wheeler is naive at best when writing his lyrics or just plain uninteligable shown in this sample lyric, "That summer I did nothing/sleeping, drinking, and hanging around" from "Orpheus" and "Revolution with a solution" from the title track, to the bland "Tonight I want you in my arms/It's not the end" from the finisher "Vampire Love". He should've put more thought into it. But the vocals themselves are terrific! Wheeler sings defiantly with his strong voice and doesn't lose his manhood when he's shrieking the high notes as heard in the turnaround in "Clones" and grunts the 'yeah's pefectly. Backed by Hatherley's heavenly backing vocals (of course it's heavenly, she's a frigging girl! ) the mix is just perfect. Very Ash-esque. // 6
Overall Impression: This is the best Ash record to date. Period. Wheeler, Hatherley, Hamilton, and McMurray has churned out a great mix of heavy metal and plain guitar pop without losing the distinct Ash taste that dates back to "1977" (actually released in 1996). One of the best of 2004. // 8
M. Moloney, on june 29, 2005 1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: This is a big step up from previous album 'Free All Angels'. The album is a much rockier affair with some brilliant solos and drumming. Ash picked up a 'Classic Songwriter' award at the 'Kerrangs' for it and it was also voted in the top 40 metal albums this year in 'Metal Hammer' In regard to the drumming Dave Grohl said it was some of the best he had ever heard! // 10
Lyrics: Lyrically as always Ash outdo everybody. Tim Wheeler is one of the best songwriters of his generation. His singing has just been improving since the days of '1977'. Charlotte Hatherleys backing vocals are also very good. // 10
Overall Impression: Probably one of their best albums. They are the most under-rated band around and they really should be back at the top of the charts where they belong. Standouts include: Orpheus, Clones, Detonator, Vampire Love, On A Wave, Meltdown and Rnegade Cavalcade. Overall a brilliant album. My second favourite of all time! // 10
unregistered, on september 24, 2005 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Personally I think it is a really great sounds, it sounds very punk rocky with a bit of a space feel wich is why in think clones was used on some form of PlayStation game like Starwars. Tim Wheeler (lead singer and lead guitarist) is probably one of the best living at this time some of hs solos are amazing and this album definatly shows of his and Charlotte's (guitars) skills. Tima slo writes soe of the best riffs aswell (e.g. Renagade Calvacade) and I agree with the UG Team the drumming is awesome. Also when in a merica I found lots of Ash albums and the album with clones on for the Starwars game. // 10
Lyrics: Well the lyrics don't relly stand out in a powerfull way but they are very cool and chilled out, you can tell they don't care if they sound childish. For a singer, I think Tim's voice sounds much better in Meltdown than nu-clear sounds and 1977 (they are still amazing albums). Charltte in the back ground soudns great and if you didnt know she realeased her own album but I am sorry Charllotte I didn't enjoy it that much and I am also sorry that I cant spell your name. // 9
Overall Impression: If theres any band that sound like ash it has to be James, they sound so alike. But I think the best songs in the album are definatly Starcrossed, Renagade Calvacade, Meldown and best of all with amzing riff, amazing tune, great drumming and a mind blowing solo is Vampire Love by far! I'd definatly get it again. // 10