The genius of Meltdown is that Tim Wheeler and the gang have managed to retain their...
Damian Jones 2002
You could be forgiven for thinking that Ash had an impossible task on their hands when it came to writing and recording the follow up to 2001's pop drenched classic, Free All Angels. A lot of bands could have curled up and died after producing a number one album and five hit singles. But not Ash. Instead the debauched four-piece have returned in a blaze of glory with a record which quite simply rocks!
The genius of Meltdown, the band's fourth album, is that Tim Wheeler and the gang have managed to retain their instantly recognisable pop traits. But they have injected their melodies with a much harder edge. Producer Nick Raskulinecz, whose previous work includes the Foo Fighters and System Of A Down, is the man responsible for the band's beefed up new sound.
The opening title track is a prime example of this as Tim's harsh lyrics: "The rich doctors and the politicians, they rule by fear...keeping us down," are married up with stomping fiery riffs and Rick McMurray's ruthless drum-roll.
Then there's "Clones", arguably Ash's heaviest number to date, and the self-imploding "Detonator." Both tracks ooze serious aggression from a band that are really coming into their own.
Despite the fact they have been around for ten years now their youthful exuberance remains intact throughout Meltdown. Still being in their 20s always helps even if their debauched lifestyle of drink and drugs should have pretty much killed them by now.
If anything, Ash have grown into an awesome guitar-pop group who have become experts at writing great melodies. "Orpheus", for example, is a kick-ass summer anthem backed up with an infectious chorus that is guaranteed to get anyone out of bed.
There is a token ballad to be found on the album in the sweet "Starcross'd". But this pales in comparison to the demonic "Vampire Love" and the poisonous "Evil Eye."
At the moment Ash can do no wrong. Long may it continue.