When you hear death metal or any of its offshoots, you either appreciate its technical precision or you hate it. Ashes of Ruin (due this Saturday, January 8, at Cervantes' Other Side) combines elements of that kind of metal with more melodic guitar leads, yet the rhythms are no less crushing, thanks to a pummeling double-kick attack. The effect is like classic thrash influenced ever so slightly by grindcore and Fates Warning. The band's latest release, the We Must Protect Her EP, with its atmospheric nuances, displays a greater degree of musical sophistication than Ashes' earlier demos and takes on an undeniable buoyancy. This Commerce City band may be heavy, but it also has hooks and sonic gracefulness.