Keep Telling Myself It's Alright review by ASHES dIVIDE

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  • Released: Apr 8, 2008
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (19 votes)
ASHES dIVIDE: Keep Telling Myself It's Alright
1

Sound — 9
The spawn of A Perfect Circle guitarist Billy Howerdel, ASHES dIVIDE is one of the most anticipated alternative band debuts of the year. Revisiting the concept of a full soundscape as seen in bands such as A Perfect Circle and Muse, Keep Telling Myself It's Alright is a refreshing addition to new music. Combining slightly heavy guitar sections with piano pieces is a nice touch in this album, providing listeners with a tasty selection of sounds to soothe or empower their minds. The guitar work is very interesting in this album, especially on songs like The Stone, Defamed, and Enemies. Howerdel takes a step from lead guitar to a position similar to Trent Reznor, master of everything. The only other official members being Josh Freese (drums) and Devo Keenan (cello), Billy plays most of the instruments on this album. Overall sound of this album is quite stunning.

Lyrics — 9
Poetic moments of glory parade this album, full of metaphors and irony. Amazing lines such as, Your idea of perfect and mine, are perfectly in line, so let's be enemies, prove that Howerdel has potential as a lyricist. In my opinion, the lyrics are quite good actually. His voice is very soothing and in a way reminds me of A Perfect Circle but also has some hints of vocal styles similar to Chester Bennington. The music matches pretty well with the mood of the lyrics. I am quite surprised that dissonance has matched as well as it has with the lyrics. Overall, I am quite impressed with poetic structure of the lyrics.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this album is very well balanced and a perfect way for ASHES dIVIDE to debut. I enjoyed this album quite a bit actually and plan on keeping it in my car stereo for a while. My personal favorites on this album are, Stripped Away, The Stone, Enemies, and A Wish. I love how this album is so similar to Howerdel's previous band, yet so different. If this were lost or stolen, I would just buy another copy and hope the thief enjoys the music.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jamie_hough
    djacob1 wrote: First off stop comparing his work to APC. If you know anything about the album you know that he tried hard to not fall into what he called "patterns" of playing. (i.e. thats why he had mat skiba play some of the guitar riffs) secondly emotive is not an album, its just a bunch of covers. The only good one was imagine (it was also the only one that got radio time) and passive which was the only original. as far as i am concerned that album doesn't exist. as far as the cheesy vocals...i really don't understand because if your going to rip on his voice you might as well rip on Maynard's as well. They sound very similar and you can tell he was influenced by his singing on the APC albums. I would agree that this album wasn't as good as the two APC albums but consider who he was playing with: Josh Freese possibly the best session drummer in the world, Paz Lenchantin who was slamming good on bass and has an awesome feel and style of playing, James iha smashing pumpkins guitarist and a bad one at that, as well as maybard james keenan a living legend. Its just one of those things 5 insane musicians are better than 2 insane musicians. naturally when you have all that talent your going to get something crazy, the man did everything himself except the drums, give him some props. As far as pseudo lyrics go... thats just bs. your trying to tell me you understand everything maynard writes about? if you think you know your probably wrong. So quite trying to act like you know everything because you listen to music all the time. your not the only one who does. chances are your probably not as smart as you think your are, also billy howerdels credentials are better than yours (i.e. worked as a guitar tech for guns and roses as well as tool, also wrote 2 amazing APC albums and released this one) Your going to be hard pressed to convince me that your opion is actually worth something based off a resume like his. For everyone else out there go out and listen to the album you can listen to it all for free on his website if you don't like it cool but if you do be sure to give the man the praise he deserves. Writing an album isn't easy, my best friend was asked to do a label under tooth and nail so i've heard all about it.
    ... dude shut up... please... that was the most over the top and completely out of context rant Ive ever read... noone on here previously was ripping into howerdel, they/we were just expected a little more and theres nothing wrong with being disapointed. and how the hell is emotive not an album? "a bunch of covers".... an ALBUM of covers then? And as for your ridiculous assumption that because some people dont like this band as much as you then they are not as intelligent as you... dude grow up. Also, this whole 'maynard sings lyrics that noone can understand cause he's so downright awesome and otherwordly', it really annoys me. Sure some of his songs like 'H' are ambiguous and difficult to put into context, but songs like say 'stinkfist' 'Judith' 'weak and powerless' 'schism' are all fairly straightforward (thats not the right word) once you commit yourself to a sort of study of them. I mean dont get me wrong, this album is damn impressive... but his lyrics and voice really do bring it down - you can tell he's influenced by Maynard and thats cool, but it doesnt work - his guitar work is where his main talent lies. Same with Maynard, Puscifer really did suck cause he tried to do something different - I 'get it' and everything, its laid back funny music, but I'm sure I'm not the first to say that if it wasnt maynard who made the music, I wouldnt have given it as many listens as I have. Now I'll momentarily lower myself - Howerdel, Maynard, Lenchantin, Leeuwen, Freese, Carey, Jones, Chancellor, Iha, Lohner and anyone else connected with APC/Ashes Divide and Tool are my all time favourite and most respected musicians, so screw you you pretentious dweeb. My opinion matters just as much as yours - your going to be hard pressed to convince me that your opinion is worth anything with contradictory statements :-p. I mean were you saying we dont have valid opinions but you do cause your on the same level as Howerdel because your mate was under a crappy label for a while..? *shakes off* apologies... anyway, yeah its an ok album, I think anyone interested in this sort of music should get it - and of course its fine to compare to APC, its inevitable and I'm pretty sure he doesnt mind. Its fine to love it, its fine to hate it, and its fine to lie somewhere in between where I think most people are...
    thashat
    For me simply, I just didn't like the cd that much at first. But, after listening a few times I can really see why APC was so successful in creating great music besides maynard. This cd is listened to me almost everyday when I am in a mellow mood.
    KurdtStaley
    I think it's obvious this band is going to be somewhat similar to APC, in both cases Howerdale composed all of the music. I personally think Howerdale has a good voice, and great lyrics. I'm not particularly fond of the subject matter, I'd rather hear politically fueled lyrics than ones about personal relationships. And I can see how some people say that this album is sort of "emo" although his lyrics put pretty much any emo band I've ever heard to shame. At first i didn't even realize that's what the songs were about til i listened thoroughly and put a good deal of thought into it. Billy's lyrics are very poetic like MJK's.
    fret13
    this is what i have to say about it, and this is MY OPINION. i completely respect everyone who likes APC and i understand that they are a respectable band. i dont like there music. on the other hand, this isnt about APC, this is ashes divide, and from what ive heard, the five songs i have, it is probably the most influencial music i have listened to in a while and his voice jsut puts chills down my spine. as far as i can tell from the five songs ive heard, Howeredell put out a great cd and since i dont really like APC and like AD, maybe that should tell you that there not the same. at all. you know what, hell to APC in my opinion, i like ashes divide way better. thats my opinion and i know that im going to have the APC mob after me soon completely telling me off but im just calling it as i see(hear) it. (yes i understand im a 'A-hole'")
    PaperStSoapCo
    Also, in my first post, I did not feel the need to bring up APC or Maynard. I was being as fair as possible, holding Ashes Divide on its own, not next to anyone or anything else. First point djacob1 tried to bring up was Maynard. Nice of you to assume that I am an APC or Tool fan and lump me in with those who made that comparison.
    PaperStSoapCo
    djacob1 wrote: As far as pseudo lyrics go... thats just bs. your trying to tell me you understand everything maynard writes about? if you think you know your probably wrong. So quite trying to act like you know everything because you listen to music all the time. your not the only one who does. chances are your probably not as smart as you think your are, also billy howerdels credentials are better than yours (i.e. worked as a guitar tech for guns and roses as well as tool, also wrote 2 amazing APC albums and released this one) Your going to be hard pressed to convince me that your opion is actually worth something based off a resume like his.
    What makes you an authority here? Seriously, I don't know what I said that was so bad. His lyrics aren't good. Pretty simple. I normally don't pay attention to lyrics as long as the flow nicely. His lyrics don't flow. They disrupt the song for me. And ironically, you are the one comparing him to Maynard. I really don't think about Maynard's lyrics that much because they flow better. And do I understand everything Maynard sings about? No. But do his lyrics actual sound as if he passed middle school? Yes. Now, I'm not saying Billy is an idiot but the way he phrases things is just stupid. Look at the examples in my last post. Does that make sense to you ? Other then that I said he was a good singer but he's better at expressing himself with music. But, I guess that makes me a pretentious know-it-all who doesn't have the credentials to back up what he's saying. Quit being such an ass kisser. I'm sure Billy is used to criticism and comparisons. He defiantly won't lose sleep over my opinions and he cares even less about you. He's a big boy, been in the business for years and he doesn't need defending from a low-rent geek like you. And if it isn't someone complaining about how much he sounds like APC then it's someone complaining about how he doesn't sound enough like APC. Frankly, I think he found a very yawn-worthy middle ground.
    seekdestroy83
    i think people are missing the point: that's right, it's NOT apc, but it sounds a little too much like apc. howerdel had a great opportunity to distance himself from that and show that he's not just an mjk clone, all while still making good music; and i think this album (or at least the stone) missed out on that opportunity. i think ashes divide should continue but take the music in a slightly different direction
    roarinflames
    whats up with the arguing its not apc so what stop thinking its going to be and start realizing that for a new band its quite good and another thing why is this in today's reviews if i submitted it over a month ago?
    thashat
    At first, I didn't really "get" the album, but after a few listens, I can really see why APC was so great besides Maynard. This guy has a lot of talent, maybe not the "best" singer, but pretty outstanding for a first outing.
    djacob1
    lol i agree with pretty much everything you said! hows that for closure.
    seekdestroy83
    I'm not gonna pretend that i listened to the whole album, but from what i did listen to, had i not known it wasn't APC i definitely would have thought it was them. Howerdel's voice sound really similar to Keenan's, and i found it disappointing that he didn't make much effort to distance his own vocal style from MJK's. Another disappointment, this about the similarity in guitarwork: listen to the interlude between the chorus and the 2nd verse in The Stone, and then listen to the interlude at the same spot in Judith. It sounds cool, but it's all been done before. Finally, i do like The Stone (ok, it is the only song i've listened to in full so far) - it's damn catchy! but it couldn't have been put together more formulaicly. beyond that, the song lacks any sort of main riff to hold it together.
    djacob1
    lol i agree with everything you just said. hows that for closure haha!
    jamie_hough
    Why are you trying to act all smug like you 'won' or something...? eMOTIVE IS an album... what else is a compilation of covers/singles/stand alone songs? Its an album whichever way you look at it - eMOTIVE was just a crappy one. fair enough others were saying 'harsher' stuff but it was hardly a collection of scathing reviews hellbent on damning Howerdel. Also the Maynard issue you rasied isnt true and I admitted nothing - Maynard is a clever and wise man with admirable views, but to imply he is alone in his ideas and only he can decipher them, is absurd. This would suggest that he is some kind of heightened being on another level to everyone else. I understand some of Einsteins theories, and if I were to study him more indepth Im positive I would understand more of them (simply because educating yourself around a subject will give you a better knowledge of it). So, if I can understand Einstein (albeit a limited understanding), Im sure Maynard James Keenan wont pose too much of a problem for my, or anyone elses intelect. The whole creative process that goes into recording songs involving MJK and his peers is one that is open to individual interpretation. MJK writes lyrics to the music that the musicians around him create. He gives his personal interpretation of them, and in some cases where a music video is involved, the director is encouraged to present their understanding of this hybrid. MJK is often quoted saying that anyone is welcome to take what they want from any aspect of his music making process and turn it into their own interpretation. He also promotes the idea of analysing the lyrics to get a clear message of what it is he is trying to portray - what would be the point if we cannot find what it is he is talking about? Like I said, these songs can be ambiguous - this doesnt mean we are nowhere near finding what it is he is talking about. Lets take 'The Pacakge' off of thirteenth step, that song is about addiction as is the theme of the album, but it is unclear wether the addiction here is related to drug use or sexual relations. It is one of the two... I personally belive it is the latter... however it is fine to hold either viewpoint or create your own, as is encouraged with this sort of music. Its funny how many fans try to put Maynard on a pedestal, but it is something he outright protests, and places the individuals doing so in the context of some of his songs - to an extent Hooker with a Penis, and certianly Eulogy come to mind. I think I'm done with this one dude... we both like all the bands in quesiton, that much is sure, it seems silly to argue over it... kinda went down paths that have nothing to do with this review. However, just so this sounds like it has some relevance, I advise anyone to buy the album, you'll find something in there you like... and like me and mr.djacob1, maybe something to argue about
    djacob1
    take it for what it is man. all i said was don't rip into and compare him to something that was pretty much an experimental group. also you can't get pissed off at me for calling out others on what their saying in their comments if your going to do it to me not ripping into howerdel? words come to mind like "pseudo poetic style" "it's damn catchy! but it couldn't have been put together more formulaicly" maybe you weren't ripping on howerdel but others were. my opinion about emotive is exactly that, my opinion, Josh Freese wrote online on one of his blogs that emotive barely counted as an album. Im just repeating what i heard from him. you got beef with that comment write something on Freese myspace. as far as the Maynard comment goes, its true and you admitted to it: "Sure some of his songs like 'H' are ambiguous and difficult to put into context" so that takes care of those arguments. also if it makes you any less pissed off, that "rant" was directed more at the other comments and less at yours.
    djacob1
    First off stop comparing his work to APC. If you know anything about the album you know that he tried hard to not fall into what he called "patterns" of playing. (i.e. thats why he had mat skiba play some of the guitar riffs) secondly emotive is not an album, its just a bunch of covers. The only good one was imagine (it was also the only one that got radio time) and passive which was the only original. as far as i am concerned that album doesn't exist. as far as the cheesy vocals...i really don't understand because if your going to rip on his voice you might as well rip on Maynard's as well. They sound very similar and you can tell he was influenced by his singing on the APC albums. I would agree that this album wasn't as good as the two APC albums but consider who he was playing with: Josh Freese possibly the best session drummer in the world, Paz Lenchantin who was slamming good on bass and has an awesome feel and style of playing, James iha smashing pumpkins guitarist and a bad one at that, as well as maybard james keenan a living legend. Its just one of those things 5 insane musicians are better than 2 insane musicians. naturally when you have all that talent your going to get something crazy, the man did everything himself except the drums, give him some props. As far as pseudo lyrics go... thats just bs. your trying to tell me you understand everything maynard writes about? if you think you know your probably wrong. So quite trying to act like you know everything because you listen to music all the time. your not the only one who does. chances are your probably not as smart as you think your are, also billy howerdels credentials are better than yours (i.e. worked as a guitar tech for guns and roses as well as tool, also wrote 2 amazing APC albums and released this one) Your going to be hard pressed to convince me that your opion is actually worth something based off a resume like his. For everyone else out there go out and listen to the album you can listen to it all for free on his website if you don't like it cool but if you do be sure to give the man the praise he deserves. Writing an album isn't easy, my best friend was asked to do a label under tooth and nail so i've heard all about it.
    PaperStSoapCo
    I was not a fan of the lyrics. At all. His voice = good. His lyrics = forced ramming of syllables in a pseudo poetic style. It sounds like he's saying something, but he really isn't. Example: "I'm just a little child you stripped away, something I'll never get back someday " or "If I could separate me from myself, I'd stay away from me " He is much better at expressing himself with music then words. And after giving the album a few thorough listens, Stripped Away and Sword are just about the only tracks I really like. The rest is just... blah. Listenable, not lovable.
    satyphan
    I pretty much think that the track "enemies" sounds a lot like apc... but in general, the album is weaker than any other from apc. still it's a good album... oh and the interlude in "the stone" at about 1:20 is just awesome
    jamie_hough
    I'll be honest I was a bit disapointed with this album. I guess its cause I was hoping for it to be like APC... but it just sounds like the wekaer tracks off of eMOTIVE that Howerdel sings on. I dont want to sound cruel but I think if this had Maynards influence in it (meaning he sang) it would be better - Im not convinced by Howerdels vocals, they seem weak and dare I say 'cheesy' at moments. The stone is a cracking song though, and the composition is quite stuning when you know he's done pretty much everything himself. I dunno... I look forward to hearing more form him in the future... but Id rather APC reformed :-p
    Sam1234299
    I honestly love every track on this album. It's a personal preference and I'll stick with that.