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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

The PB Army

Spine for the Snapback

Review by Mike Korn

When I heard the debut album "Inebriates, Equivocators and Mockers of the Devil Himself" from Toledo, Ohio's PB Army, I knew I had just encountered a band with a future in the heavy rock business. With their sophomore release, PB Army shows that they haven't lost any momentum. This band, whose name is an ironic take-off on the beer slogan "PBR Me, ASAP", has achieved something that is extremely rare in today's music world: their own original sound.

Their music is based around huge, thick riffs with a ton of crunch and power that are incredibly easy to get into. The band is equally concerned with catchy vocal hooks that are almost poppy in nature. There's enough variation between songs to make listening very interesting, yet each track has a core PB Army sound as well. That's not very easy to do, and it makes "Spine for the Snapback" a unique listening experience that rocks like hell.

If you are into Black Sabbath, Clutch, Foo Fighters, Corrosion of Conformity, Cheap Trick, Nirvana or Motorhead, you should enjoy this band. To put it more succinctly, if you dig catchy hard rock that doesn't skimp on the heaviness, get this record!

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Trouble in the Woodshed
You like your rock loud, hard and catchy? Then you've come to the right place. This is what they call "RAWK". Powerful, thick guitar crunch and pounding drums that stick to your ribs. The vocals go down smooth and have just a hint of Southern-fried flavor, like the album in general.
A Hole in the New Leaf
This kicks off all frantic and buzzy, with a nervous sounding vocal approach. This cut has a real alternative sound to it but still has the fat and chewy riffs that typify PB Army. The bass gets more of a workout than usual.
Dying on the Starting Line
The slow start of this number brings Fu Manchu to mind. By now, it's really obvious these guys have a talent for digging up incredibly catchy power riffs and pop vocal hooks. The energy picks up briskly in the middle of this tune.
Moderation
The band shows their almost pop leanings with this cut, which reminds me of the Foo Fighters a little bit. The vocals are smooth and radio friendly and wrap around some hummable hooks. There's even handclaps and "hoo-hoo-hoo's" on show here, but the cut still manages to end with some powerful rocking riffs.
Viva Los Alamos
This cut is a raging punk rocker in the classic style, with constant shouting of "Viva Los Alamos!". It slows up for a catchy breakdown in the middle, but it's one of the most aggressive tracks, with angry vocals to match.
Martyr Bound
This is an epic by PB Army standards, clocking in at over 7 minutes. It kicks off with a peppy, almost cheerful guitar hook that soon thickens up and gets pretty heavy. The middle part of this song features some very weird, watery sounding guitar soloing accompanied by almost jazzy bass/drum work. The cut then returns to the original theme and gets even heavier, finally climaxing in a powerful avalanche of guitar sludge. It's pretty wild stuff.
Bringing a Knife to the Gun Fight
WOW! Who slipped the singer a mickey? All of a sudden, he cuts loose with ferocious, almost black metal rasps that burn you to a crisp! The beginning of this cut is fast and mean, almost thrash metal, and then it turns to the catchy, vaguely Southern groove one expects from the band.
Ashtabula
This one reminds me again of Fu Manchu's stoner rock, especially the vocal lines. The chorus is catchier than hell and again the vocals get really angry sounding. The melody is not immediately obvious here, but it's there, believe me, and it's hard to forget. This is one of the album's most rocking cuts.
The Five Nines
I love the fat, crunchy mid-tempo riffing on the verses here, with sardonic, almost robot-like vocals repeating some pretty goofy lyrics. The drumming is outstanding on this cut, especially on the faster, chugging choruses.
A Temporary Absence
The sappy beginning here brings horrifying thoughts of sickening alternative rock ballads to mind, but the band is really being snide and ironic (or at least I think so). Soon enough, the power riffing kicks in to get things back on track. I would still classify this as one of the lesser cuts on the record.
Ate A Lie
This quirky, nervous sounding number has some really snotty, punky vocals to follow its simple guitar licks. Once again, the band manages to mix that trademark Clutch/COC style Southern metal feel with something on the poppy side to come up with a memorable track.
Sanguine
It's pretty hard to describe the first half of this one. A rising and falling guitar motif is mirrored by some double tracked, almost singsong vocals. Things intensify and get much heavier, as drums pound furiously along. It's quite catchy and hypnotic, but then hang on, because the second half of the cut shifts gears drastically and unleashes the GOD-RIFF that beats anything else I've heard this year. Wow, this is up there with "Smoke on the Water", "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Paranoid"...a killer sludgy stomp that ends the album on a very high note! 
 
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