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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Company Band

The Company Band

Review by Mike Korn

When a plain looking disc from an outfit with the generic name of "The Company Band" arrived in my mailbox, my expectations were pretty low. I figured it might be some sort of tired blues rock or possibly the latest "ironic" cookie cutter metalcore band. What I got was indisputedly the best hard rock album I've heard this year. Only later did I learn exactly who the members of the Company Band were: Clutch's Neil Fallon on vocals, Fu Manchu's Brad Davis on bass, Fireball Ministry's James Rota III on guitar, CKY's Jess Margera on drums and Dave Bone on guitar. Yep, what we have here is a bona fide super group.

And this one lives up to its potential. To be honest, I like this better than anything I've heard from Clutch or Fu Manchu recently. Fans of those bands will certainly recognize and like what the Company Band is doing, but it has the potential to reach a much wider audience. Every song here is oozing with super catchy hooks, strong vocals and weird, witty lyrics. At some points, there's a strong feeling of classic rock like Deep Purple or Whitesnake; at others, I get a powerful grunge vibe ala Soundgarden or Stone Temple Pilots. Mixed with that is what can only be called “stoner rock.” The result is outstanding in every regard.

Back when there was such a thing as the music business and people actually bought albums and listened to FM radio, The Company Band would have been huge. In today's sorry fractured and digitized world, it won't make the same impact. But it should. Do your part and pick up the debut of this outstanding band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Zombie Barricades
A smoking hot catchy rock riff kicks in with no build-up, and Neil Fallon's trademark bellowing vocals dive right in. The chorus riffs are pounding like hammers as Neil asks in incredulity "Are you f****in' kidding me?" God knows what he is singing about, but he gives it his all. This song is a great introduction to the hard, heavy but very accessible world of the Company Band.
It's A Confusing World
The staccato riffs here couldn't be simpler...or catchier. This has a great classic rock feeling to it and could be a lost 70's hit that's been dug up and remastered for the 21st century. The faintest hint of Deep Purple-sounding organ adds power to the song.
Djinn And Pentatonic
The pun behind the title has to be the worst I've heard in any song ever...a real groaner. What can I say? This is another amazingly catchy hard rocker...probably the most Deep Purplish sounding of all the songs here.  The Jon Lord type keyboards are even more pronounced and the song has a slinky, vaguely funky feeling to it.  The lyrics are off the hook even for Neil Fallon...something about a "poor dead cat split right down the middle" and "atmospheric phenomena".
Inline Six
This cut has a kind of boogie rock feel to it and with lyrics about cars racing in the desert, the Fu Manchu influence is a bit stronger. Another great chorus helps this one stand out. It's a fairly strong tune, but on this album, one of the lesser cuts. 
Hot Topic Woman
This song ought to be in high rotation on every rock station in the country.  Crunchy, sassy hard rock with great riffs, the words on this one will be instantly recognizable to anybody who's had to put up with phony attitude from one of those tattooed Goth chicks working at Hot Topic. "Get with the program...I'm the customer!" This reminds me of classic stuff like Bachman Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" or "Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet".
All's Well In Milton Keynes
This laidback bluesy tune sounds relaxing and yet manages to exude an ominous atmosphere. The roots of a track like this go all the way back to stuff like The Guess Who. Fallon's vocals are more low-key here instead of the usual bellowing shout he favors. The guitar solo is a thing of eerie beauty. It’s rare to hear a truly authentic blues rock song these days, but here's one.
Who Else But Us
The energy kicks up with this bouncy rocker. Again, I get a strong feeling of BTO, but maybe mixed with something more modern like Stone Temple Pilots.  The lyrics are absolutely hysterical and worth the price of admission alone: "Ancient prophecy, demonic possession/If it's for real, there's just one protection/Sedate 'em, defibulate 'em/Then kick 'em in the n*ts!" Classic stuff!
CD&W
After a subdued beginning, this jumps into slamming hard rock boogie. The initials of the title stand for "chaos, destruction and war" and the song is a strong condemnation of greedy fat cats who profit from violence. This one is short and sweet.
Love Means Never Having To Say You're Ugly
That title was the tagline to the classic horror movie "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" and sure enough, the song is a tribute to the mad doctor. The fastest and flat-out heaviest tune, this is just a killer metal/rock song. The instrumental end-section reminds me of NWOBHM greats like Grim Reaper, Saxon and even a touch of Sabbath.
Lethe Waters
The album ends on a very moody note with this slow paced and smouldering tune. It's not bad but kinda lacks the fire and smoothness of the other songs.
 
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