Nine Lashes – “From Water to War”


Nine Lashes - From Water to WarSometimes you come across a band that you think you should have heard of before, or at least have heard more from before.  Nine Lashes seems to fall into that category.  As of mid-March 2014, they have over 60,000 Facebook fans, toured with RED, had songs on NFL commercials, and have a YouTube video with over 1.2 million views (“Anthem of the Lonely” from their first album).  All pretty big things to list on a resume for sure.

Nine Lashes, from Birmingham, Alabama, literally burst onto the scene in 2012 with their debut album World We View on Tooth & Nail Records.  For those questioning the “burst onto the scene” phrase, I suggest revisiting the first paragraph as those are pretty heady stats for a band with one album released.  From a sound perspective, Nine Lashes fit in very well with label mates Thousand Foot Krutch and Icon for Hire and blend in seamlessly with the modern rock heroes like Skillet and RED.  Within this genre, you can expect soaring vocals, lots of electronic sounds, very clean production, and a noticeable lack of real grittiness, despite how heavy the bands try to make their sound.  Nine Lashes certainly fit in with the best, but as a result it does become a bit of a challenge for the casual listener to differentiate them from the others.  Of course, since I listen to hardcore and punk, I am certain the same charge could be levelled at bands I like within those genres as well, so I do get that but bear with me.  I think best way to describe the overall sound is, controlled and safe.  There just doesn’t seem to be the sense of danger inherent in rock-n-roll.

The one thing that really jumps out at me is how perfect Jeremy Dunn’s vocals are for this genre.  Soaring high notes, screams,  nearly over the edge screaming, and good range are all here and used very well within the songs.  Same goes for the backing vocals, they are used at the right time and in the right way in the songs, really adding to the fullness of the overall vocals.  The songs rely a bit too much on keyboards and electronica type sounds for my liking, and in that way does bring to mind latter-day Linkin Park.

The first song that I really liked was “Lights We Burn”.  It starts out with some keyboards and drumming that one can easily imagine firing up a stadium crowd and then a chunky guitar riff comes in for the intro.  Verses start out with an almost fast speaking vocals over top of keyboards and drums with guitars joining in later to provide some emphasis.  The second verse gets a bit heavier with guitars present all the way through and then there’s some shout along sections and a nice start/stop moment in the middle.  Somewhat formulaic with respect to this genre but they pull it off and end up with an entertaining song.

“Surrender” is the next song on the album and totally destroys the rocking momentum started in “Lights We Burn” as this is a more like a pretty ballad with nearly absent guitars.  Songs like this do make me somewhat surprised by this album, especially that it made Billboard’s Top 15 Hard Rock Albums, coming in at #8 in February, higher than Throwdown.  That being said, to provide some perspective, they were just ahead of Nickelback and a bit lower than Skillet, which does make a bit more sense.

One of the other catchy tracks is “Light it Up”, which has a nice groove through the verse sections but does end up a bit toward the cheesy side as these songs about burning things often do.  Pillar has one, Thousand Foot Krutch has one and once you hear the song, you can easily imagine Skillet, TFK, Pillar, or other bands in the genre playing this exact song.

Overall, performances on the album are very good, and there are a lot of production and computers that likely went into this recording.  In the end, the result is an album that seems very safe, very middle of the road, and apparently aimed at a large audience.  The result is some strong songs, but they easily blend into the background, sounding like so many other bands, and as a result, just don’t seem to have much lasting impact on the listener.

Rating: 6.5/10

Written by John Jackson

1, Never Back Down
2. Break The World
3. Where I Belong
4. Lights We Burn
5. Surrender
6. Fear and Shadows
7. Die in the Dark
8. Light It Up
9. Love Me Now
10. Cover Your Own

Band Members:
Jeremy Dunn – Vocals
Noah Terrell – Drums
Jared Lankford – Bass
Adam Jefferson – Guitar
Jonathan Jefferson – Guitar

Albums: “Escape” [2009]
“World We View” [2012]
“From Water to War” [2014]

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records, 2014

Weblinks: Facebook / Twitter / Website

Lyric video for  ‘Break the World’

Video below ‘Album preview’

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