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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Something Heroic

Choose Your Sides

Review by Gary Hill

Much modern alternative rock crosses the line into nu-metal territory. In fact, it’s often hard to find a dividing line between the two genre. The Saint Louis based band Something Heroic have managed to build a unique and effective identity in that musical territory. In fact, their sound is more successful than a lot of the bigger bands in the alternative rock field. Much of that effectiveness springs from the difficult balance between consistency and variety.

While bands like Theory of a Deadman suffer from feeling like a different band entirely from song to song, some other bands in this musical field produce song after song that seems nearly identical. Something Heroic avoids both of those traps by producing music that’s consistent to the sound of the group, but quite varied, sometimes in the span of one track.

Something Heroic have produced a nearly perfect slab of alternative hard rock. It shows the group to be talented. In fact, in a “fair world,” these guys would be among the biggest acts of the genre. They stand tall amongst the field of competition.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fear

As “Fear” leads the set off, it feels like it could be an extreme metal tune. It works out to a chorus, though, that’s more in keeping with nu-metal meets alternative rock. Still, this cut is far from limited. It works between those varied musical styles and some of the vocals even call to mind modern epic metal. It’s a strong tune with a lot of energy and a great way to start the disc in style.

Closure

“Closure” is a completely different beast. The metal leanings are nearly removed as the piece works in a more straightforward alternative rock vein. Still, there are hints of Gothic music to be heard. The driving riff is almost Led Zeppelin-like.

Walk On By

This opens with an almost progressive rock riff. As it pounds out into the song proper it’s closer to something by Rush, but the vocals create a definite alternative rock texture. Something Heroic shows again that they can create a consistent sound, but change it up track after track. In fact, there’s plenty of changes built into the one track here. A slower segment mid-song has a definite alternative rock texture to it. A soaring vocal line later along with some new musical elements create an almost progressive rock sound.

Bearclaw

The metal reigns supreme on the opening of “Bearclaw.” It pounds out with real fury and some extreme metal vocals are heard over the top. As it modulates to the song proper, though, it’s in more of a modern alternative rock sound. They don’t stay in one place, though. In fact, the track moves through several variants, and even leans towards progressive rock at times.

Regret

“Regret” seems to vanquish the metal gods, except for some extreme metal vocals. Still, there’s some crunchy classic rock meets metal styled guitar soloing and a great alternative rock song structure, making for one of the real highlights of the set. The vocal arrangement turns in some intriguing directions later, too.

Don't Pass the Time

The opening of this has a real metal meets classic rock sound, feeling a little like Molly Hatchet, even. It works out to a more typical alternative rock arrangement from there. It’s not a huge change from the rest of the material, but still creates enough drama and variety to keep it interesting.

Keeper of the Gates

“Keeper of the Gates” is certainly more metallic. In fact, the title almost seems like a reference to the Helloween album “Keeper of the Seven Keys” when the shift to nearly pure metal is added to the equation. There are even hints of that type of progressive metal. There’s a great spoken vocals over swirling guitar lines segment later in the tune. It’s another standout piece.

Peaceful Passer-By

This continues the onslaught by combining an almost straight-ahead rock and roll riff with some metallic fury. Parts of the song feel close to thrash, but others reflect the type of hard edged alternative rock practiced by bands like Godsmack.

Purpose

“Purpose” revisits that Led Zeppelin-like vibe on the main riff, but it’s still fully modern rock. There’s a faster paced section that’s perhaps closer to Rush meets thrash. The smoking hot jam later in the piece has a lot of epic metal and even some progressive rock within the structure.

Can't Replace Time

If there’s a misstep, and that’s questionable, it’s “Can't Replace Time.” The song, a modern alternative rock ballad, is quite strong. It’s just that putting a mellow piece in the closing position doesn’t always work well. The tune is strong enough to pull it off, though. Of course, it doesn’t quite end the set because there’s a little bit of weirdness in the form of hidden track that provides the final sounds here.

 
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