Matt Brandyberry wasn’t sure if there would be a second album for From Ashes to New.
After a successful first album and positive live reviews, it seemed like the rap-rock band was on a smooth, upward trajectory. Then, original members Chris Musser and Tim D’Onofrio parted ways from the band.
From Ashes to New subsequently canceled the end of a tour and an appearance on the concert cruise ShipRocked.
After a tumultuous 2017, From Ashes to New is back with a fresh album and two new members. The band will perform Monday at the Chameleon Club as part of a co-headlining tour with Bad Wolves.
Brandyberry, who raps, is an Elizabethtown Area High School graduate who resides in Lancaster County.
Musser and D’Onofrio left From Ashes to New before the writing process began for the band’s sophomore album, “The Future.” Brandyberry and guitarist Lance Dowdle did a Facebook Live video to share the news of Musser and D’Onofrio’s exit, and took questions from fans about the lineup change.
“It’s always important for us to keep the dialogue open with our fans,” Brandyberry says.
Selecting a new drummer was an easy choice. When D’Onofrio couldn’t play a string of dates in 2016, former Trivium drummer Mat Madiro filled in. Brandyberry says Madiro is a natural fit.
Finding a new vocalist was a bit trickier. From Ashes to New is formatted to have a singer alongside Brandyberry’s rapping. Brandyberry and Dowdle didn’t want to rush their decision.
“You can find a fill-in guy, but we didn’t want to find a fill-in,” Brandyberry says. “We didn’t want to come out and do shows with a guy who wasn’t our guy, because we didn’t want to put fans through it all over again.”
They watched countless videos online, including a series of auditions for a record label’s “super group.” There, they found Danny Case, a tenor they thought would balance out Brandyberry’s deeper vocals.
Knowing the weight of the decision, the band opened up the opportunity to audition to the public.
“A lot of cool auditions came in,” Brandyberry says. “It was kind of like watching ‘American Idol.’ ”
Still, the musicians decided Case was their guy. He joined the band in late March.
“Danny’s range is ridiculous,” Brandyberry says. “He can sing baritone all the way up to alto, so (it’s like) finding a diamond in the rough, or a needle in a haystack.”
Brandyberry also commends Case for his ability to sing with and without grit, an important skill as the band works to create a sound appealing to a wider audience.
From Ashes to New made a concerted decision on “The Future” to include less screaming and to focus more on melodies while still staying true to the original sound that the devoted fans love.
“I think there was a really fine line we had to walk between our evolution and our past,” Brandyberry says. “I feel like we really nailed that with this new record.”
There’s also a heightened focus on the lyrics, Brandyberry says. The band frequently speaks on overcoming adversity and believing in one’s self in its songs. On “The Future,” From Ashes to New addresses everything from personal relationships to the state of the country and world.
The band returned to Atrium Audio, formerly located in Lancaster city, to work with Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland. Slovak and McFarland are now partners with York’s Think Loud Studios, which is co-owned by members of the band Live.
“We felt the chemistry was there from the first one. … Why try and reinvent the wheel and fix something that’s not broken?” Brandyberry says.
Brandyberry says a lot hinges on this tour. It’s From Ashes to New’s first headlining tour, and because of other bands on the bill, he expects to see some new faces in the crowd.
“I think all in all, this tour is probably the most important tour of our career,” Brandyberry says.