The Sabians – Beauty for Ashes – Review

The Sabians

Beauty for Ashes (TMC)
by Craig Regala

Look at it as an emo(tionally)/spiritually infused record for the doom/stoner crowd. A couple ex-Sleep guys are involved, pumping initial expectations towards Sleep’s brand of metal boom sludge. The thing is, these guys were ex-Sleep for a reason: The Sabians founder, Justin Marler, hit the drugs and rock and roll thing to the point of ditching it, reallllly ditching it. He joined a Monastery in Alaska. After seven years (!) of a very strict and focused life he comes back to the music world using that experience to give you a good one. I like it a bunch; here’s why…

Beauty For Ashes uses the long haul history of rock’s melodic world folk history but remains a rock record; like Tool, the often airy rock energy follows the melodic backbone set by voice and guitar. It’s not heavy, but hey, the middle period (before they ditched rock completely) Swans weren’t either, and they still had the heart punch in their arsenal. Humanity hasn’t changed biologically since written history, so reaction to musical stimulus (obviously) hasn’t either. Ergo many of the age old musical methods work; one being Eastern folk melodies Mr. Marler may’ve been dosed with during his seven year stay. Herein rock structure meets melodic edifice and several functional tunes; all is well. For some reason, it reminds me of a tense version of Devin Townsend’s Terria. Obviously “hard rock” but shot through with feelings, tempos, pastoral interludes and vocal tones as likely to occur on Yes, Jethro Tull, or Pink Floyd records as any of todays “loud rock favorites.” The wife wisecracked it sounded like “Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü drummer/writer) leading ’75 Rush.” At times pensive or pained without anger or victimhood attached. What the hell, everybody’s gotta have a good cry now and then. Jesus, I blubbered during The Sixth Sense, so getting wistful or teary listening to this provides a true relief… then it’s back to the’ ole ass-kickin’ salt mines…
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