Ashes to Lashes is the latest EP release from Ophelia's Sweet Demise, a band based in Milwaukee, WI, and composed of three core members: Daniel Kufauhl (lead/backing vocals and bass), Kat DeWinter (keyboards and backing vocals), and Rik Gravens (guitar, programming, and backing vocals).
This six song EP opens with the title track, which is driven by an extremely catchy bassline and Daniel's vocals, which exude no small amount of bitterness. I'm not exactly sure what the phrase "Ashes to lashes to life to lust" means, but it does sound quite nice within the context of this song.
According to their website, the artistic aim of Ophelia's Sweet Demise is to incorporate progressive elements into traditional dark/gothic rock song structures. Songs like Cobalt Blue, Veil, and Crown in the Ground pull this off quite nicely with layered melodies and rhythms that are somewhat more complex than the standard fare of the genre. The composition is also top-notch, with all of the instruments working to piece together each song, with nothing sounding out of place. No song is either too long or too short; each one says what it needs to say, then makes its exit; there is no wasted time (unlike the compositional techniques of certain bands who feel the need to loop the chorus of a song ad nauseum). Of course, one result of this is the fact that the entire release clocks in at just under 24 minutes. However, Ophelia's Sweet Demise manage to pack a lot of music into this timeframe.
I will note that none of the songs go beyond the mid-tempo range, but this is more an observation than a criticism, as I do not feel that this really detracts from the quality and variety of music contained in this release. It just means that those seeking something with a fast and hypnotic dance beat would have better luck elsewhere. However, what Ophelia's Sweet Demise lack in speed is more than made up for with power and skill, and their music is meant to maintain the attention of listeners, and not zombify them with repetitions of a throbbing dance beat.