"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Final Conflict - "Ashes To Ashes (Reissue)" (CD)

Final Conflict - "Ashes To Ashes (Reissue)" CD cover image

"Ashes To Ashes (Reissue)" track listing:

1. Apocalypse Now!
2. One Answer
3. Private War
4. Crucifixion
5. Abolish Police
6. Shattered Mirror
7. Burial Service
8. What Kind of Future
9. Constant Fear
10. Political Glory
11. Central America
12. Outcasts
13. Self-Righteous Pigs
14. The Last Sunrise

Reviewed by on May 7, 2014

"From the two-something-minutes average recording time to the attitude inherit in Ron Martinez's voice, this recording reanimated the style master minded by Discharge, GBH, and The Exploited."

1987--the last year of Ronald Reagan's presidency. These were turbulent times under his watch. Our economy teetered on the brink of depression. Top military leaders sold planes full of cocaine to finance Central American death squads, which led to our country's crack epidemic and gang violence climbed to new highs. All these blights continued to inspire punk rock. This was the year Final Conflict strapped on its boots and washed its punk roots in metallic distortion with debut album "Ashes to Ashes."

From the two-something-minutes average recording time to the attitude inherit in Ron Martinez's voice, this recording reanimated the style master minded by Discharge, GBH, and The Exploited. Also, even though this recording took place below the pond, Final Conflict stayed with the anarchist state of mind. The album points a finger at authority and its stronghold over individual liberty. "Private War" and "Self-Righteous Pigs" are a commentary on greed, "Abolish Police" looks at how police take away our freedom, and "Central America" beats the drum against torture. At the center of all these problems was our country's lead executive, Ronald Reagan, whose "don't tread on me" speech is both sampled and criticized in another sample.

A Phil Donahue sample about our country's ruin under Reagan on "Political Glory" will indicate the age of the album's listeners (I remember his talk show). Gang choruses were the rage back then. The multitude of discernible voices really helps the band's concepts sink in. The music follows their words closely on "Self-Righteous Pigs," resulting in one of the catchiest lines of refrain found throughout the album. Martinez then screams more memorable lines like "Torture! It Never Stops!" on "Central America." Another track featuring some of the band's best music comes during the speed picked chorus lines on "What Kind of Future." "Crucifixion" moves with L.A. speed metal gusto while "Abolish Police" hinges on meaty d-beats in the vein of their British idols, Discharge. Metal fans into Nailbomb will especially dig this tune.

"Ashes to Ashes" was recorded in 1987, three years after what was seen as the end of hardcore. Sure, they brought elements of British d-beat punk that had been done before, but were able to see the value in this sound. This was something they didn't want to let go of and the scene in L.A. was perfectly accommodating. The album's speed, aggression and political statements simply couldn't be overlooked. 27-years later and a whole new generation is being introduced to this classic recording. Those who enjoy shards of metal in their punk rock salad should incorporate "Ashes to Ashes" into their sonic diet!

Highs: "Ashes to Ashes" features infectious sing alongs, blazing speed, and political statements that still ring true today.

Lows: More gang choruses would have further energized the album.

Bottom line: Those who enjoy shards of metal in their punk rock salad should incorporate "Ashes to Ashes" into their sonic diet!

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)