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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Thirteen-Seven

On the Inside EP

Review by Gary Hill

These guys are great. They combine a modern rock sound with classic elements of groups like The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. The sound is not entirely original, but it’s quite fresh. Even things like Guns ‘N Roses seem to show up in the mix here. I even heard Captain Beyond. These guys have a diverse set of influences and yet it just works. The only real mistake, in my book, is the remix bonus track. I just don’t see the point.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
On the Inside

A killer bass groove starts things off as the title track begins the album. The vocals come across this backdrop and it gets some crunchy guitar as they continue. There’s a real classic rock groove to this, but almost a nu-metal edge. The vocal hook is quite catchy, but that main riff is just so meaty. Elements of both Led Zeppelin and Guns ‘N’ Roses seem present here, but delivered with a song structure and vocal delivery that’s closer to modern alternative rock. The thing is, this song has a lot of shifts and changes. It’s quite complex, while seeming straight-forward. That’s talent. In some ways I’m even reminded just a bit of Captain Beyond.

What Will It Take?

The guitar riff that opens things here really reinforces that Led Zeppelin comparison. Yet, the song proper is another that has that modern pop rock vibe to it. The vocal performance and hook are both absolutely modern. But a lot of the music is heavily tied to classic rock. At times the guitar riffing and sound makes me think of a modernization of The Yardbirds, even. The instrumental section on this tune is also deceptively complex.

Hold On (For Your Life)

It’s almost a cliché to put a mellower cut in the third slot on album. That said, though, this is an EP, so there aren’t that many slots. Additionally, while this starts as a ballad, there’s a powered up hard rocking section that comes in later. This piece is really quite a dynamic and diverse number. That fast paced segment almost feels like progressive rock at times. There are some hints of jazz on some of the mellow sections. It all works together and gels as one thing, though. Yes, the modern music elements are still here, too. This is one of the highlights of the set, really. Considering how strong the first two pieces were, that says a lot.

Time Will Tell
The riff that opens this one is nicely off-kilter. It’s another thing that has some elements of progressive rock in it. There’s also some psychedelic sound to that riff. It drops to a driving, but more stripped back jam for the first vocals. They alternate between the mellower modes and harder rocking for the duration of the cut and it’s another strong tune.
Redefine the World

Somehow the jam that opens this makes me think a bit of Queensryche. It works out from there to something more typical of the modern hard rock of the rest of the set. This is good, but not really a highlight.

On the Inside (8bitrage Remix)

I’ve never really understood the wisdom of these kind of techno remix things. I mean, the people who really like the hard rock of this album probably aren’t the target audience for this kind of thing. Conversely, a lot of the techno audience probably won’t be blown away by the killer hard rock in the main album. Still, this remix of the title track opens with some cool sound effect laden atmosphere. As the vocals enter, there’s sort of an industrial techno vibe to it. They add to that sound with some nicely noisy keyboard sounds. This sort of sounds like a cross between modern techno music and early Gary Numan.

 
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