Rites of Ash may have reached a new level of eclecticism for a modern alt rock band on their third project Like Venom. It's a case of too many influences and elements and not enough room on one disc for them all. Pursing the DIY work ethic that produced two studio albums already, ROA draws upon melodic hard rock, both classic and modern, electronica, industrial, post-grunge, and some modern metal to bend them into what can best be described as some odd alternative pop hard rock. Are you confused yet. I'm not sure if I wasn't.
By example, consider either Redemption or Toxic. Both songs blend pop sensibility with excursions into modern electronic rock, enough for radio friendliness and quite possibly persuade you to visit the dance floor. Then, for a monkey in the wrench, ROA does what can only be called electronic metalcore on Burn. This is some freaky stuff. Things get more clever, interesting or strange, depending on your perspective as you travel through Like Venom. Dead Side of Hollywood sounds like Lady Gaga getting her ass kicked by an industrial Hinder. (I'd just like to see somebody kick her ass period.) Other songs are both inexplicable and weirdly intriguing like Disaffected (Duran Duran meets post-grunge flannel) and Breathless (pop funk dance floor meets metalcore). All the songs feature the extensive vocal prowess of 80 Two (WTF?), but he can annoy with bit of creaking falsetto like Justin Hawkins (The Darkness).
Variety is the thing for Rites of Ash. Certainly, they are quite creative, even if there is no coherency, no rhyme nor reason to Like Venom. In then end, I think it's the capitulation to the hardcore side of modern rock and metal that sabotages this work. The inclusion on Hand Grenade Heart is particularly anemic and quite annoying. Otherwise, there's a lot of interesting tunes to digest and savor here making Like Venom worthy of exploration. Like the cover art, too.