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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

DC4

Explode

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of Godsmack and Alice in Chains should like this band because the bulk of their repertoire comes close to the sound of those two acts. Their fanbase isn’t about to be limited there, though. These guys take retro metal and hard rock elements and blend them with that more modern hard rock and metal sound and throw in a little punk to create a sound that calls to mind other acts a bit, but still stands on its own. This is a great disc and shows off a really talented act. It’s one of those albums you’ll find yourself putting on over and over again.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Explode
This one purely screams out of the gate and shows that we’re about to launch on a journey of metallic fury. It combines modern metal sounds with more stripped down hard rock and roll and a vintage metal element. The resulting onslaught is tasty and a little raw. The guitar solo on this should take you back to 1979 and the whole section that makes up that part of the song reminds me of Hell Bent For Leather era Priest.
Rock And Roll Disease
This rolls in with a bit of a hair metal meets punk approach. As it drops back to the grinding verse that Priest texture comes back in just a little, but the vocal delivery is very much like old school punk.  The chorus is more solid vintage metal. The guitar solo on this one is very much in keeping with 1980’s styled metal.
Experiment
Another heavy duty pounder, this one is more meaty than the previous one, but has similar leanings. The vocals are definitely in the metal realm, rather than coming across as punky. The chorus is one of the catchier ones on show here. It breaks down mid-song to a mellower, more stripped down take on the track that has a bit too much of a modern rock feel for me. They eventually build it back out to the heights that preceded this part of the cut, though.
God Complex
With a bit of an “enveloped” texture, this one is heavy as heck and another killer jam on a disc that’s full of them. It seems to have a bit more of a hard rock, blues laden sound, but also manages to hold a good deal of metal in its arrangement. This is another that has a lot more modern texture, feeling perhaps a bit like Godsmack or Alice In Chains. It’s also another killer cut.  The alternating bridge type section is particularly in line with that second band. The guitar solo is just plain screaming.

Cabin Fever
While in some ways this doesn’t differ a lot from the track that preceded it, it’s kind of like a turbo charged version of that one. This is heavier and meaner – both in terms of music and lyrics. It’s raw and angry and one of the highlights of the CD.
This Is What You Wanted
This comes in with a mellow, rather dark balladic style. They pound it out from there in something more akin to Alice Chains or even Brutal Planet era Alice Cooper.  The verse drops down a bit, but not as far as the introduction. The chorus on this one powers up and is one of the catchiest things on show here. Alice in Chains and Godsmack are certainly worthy of mention here, but not the only game in town. The arrangement turns far more powerful and complex as they carry on, moving it closer to a prog-metal sound. This is another killer track on a disc that has no shortage of them. In fact, it might be my second favorite on show here.
Candy Caine
Raw and hard as rock, this one feels like a more metal take on Deep Purple with a bit of Iron Maiden and a touch of Motorhead thrown in for good measure. It’s noisy and simplistic. Not one of my favorites, it has its charms nonetheless. The instrumental section on this is a modernization of a typical 1970’s styled noise-fest extended jam. Those with kids beware of the utterance that takes it back into the main portion of the song – it brutally angry and has a couple four letter words.

Long Hard Road to Lost
Dramatic and powerful this one seems to bring some psychedelic tones into its hard edged jam at times. The Godsmack leanings are strong here. This is not extremely different from a lot of the other material here, but works better than some of the other numbers. That makes it one of the best cuts on show here.
Distrubed
This feels like a harder rocking, more metallic take on musical themes that might have come out of the 1960’s – think Tomorrow’s “My White Bicycle.” They power it out into territory more like the rest of the disc after a time, but this one is still a good change of pace.
Hate Parade
They saved the best for last. With as diverse a track as this one, you might tend to think of it as an “epic.” The thing is, the duration isn’t in line with that, the song weighs in at less than four minutes. That doesn’t stop the group from turning this into a dynamic and powerful piece of music. It opens with an acoustic guitar motif that might lead you to think of Led Zeppelin, but the vocals dispel at least part of that illusion. They move through a number of variations, but don’t pull it up from this acoustically driven approach until about the one minute mark. Then they power it up, but keep the song structure basically unchanged. This screams out into more metallic stylings for a killer instrumental section about 45 seconds down the road. This has a classic hard rock/metal texture and then shifts out into a killer staccato riff driven mode that calls to mind both Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden a bit (with some Guns N Roses thrown into the mix). This turns more towards the Zep end of the spectrum as layers are added onto it. The vocals turn more towards classic metal as they return from their little instrumental section vacation. This screamer is a great way to end the disc in style.
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