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BangTower

The Road We Travel

Review by Gary Hill
This is the brand new disc from BangTower. While this is also released in digital form, this CD includes an EP titled “Hey, Where’d Everybody Go?,” which is not on the digital version. Of course, that was released digitally in 2017. The lineup this time around is Neil Citron handing guitars, keyboards and vocals along with Robert Pag on bass and vocals throughout both sets. Rudd Weatherwax is the drummer on the album proper, while Frankie Banali takes that position on the EP. Horns are credited to “Maynard G. Krebs,” but I’m guessing (for obvious reasons) that’s a pseudonym. This disc features killer guitar work throughout and the music seems to live within a zone that borders both metal and fusion. It’s a strong set from beginning to end.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
NC Hammer
Drums bring this in, and the song rocks out like crazy from there. I love the killer heavy rock sound at the heart of it. There is some smoking hot guitar soloing here. There is a cool drop-back section later. The cut has some fusion, but also plenty of heavy metal and hard edged prog rock built into it. This thing is a real screamer.
Don't Push
Some neo-classically inspired guitar opens this cut. The number fires out into some powerhouse jamming that’s so cool. The bass work on this is exceptional. There is also some particularly intense guitar work here. This number is so cool. As strong as the opener was, this raises the stakes.
The Bag Man
This is slower moving and decidedly heavy. There is a definite metal edge to the piece, yet progressive rock and fusion are also well-established parts of the sonic mix here. I like how the heavier sections are counter-pointed with more melodic ones. The guitar soloing gets a bit crazed on this tune. A fast paced jam that enters around the three-minute mark brings the fusion fully to bear and really works so well.
The Haunt
When it comes to killer guitar work, this heavy number has that for certain. This has a heavy, neo-classical edge to it. I’m reminded a bit of something like Dream Theater in some ways, but the guitar work is closer to say Yngwie Malmsteen.
Down Under
A slower rocking number, this is heavy and so cool. There are faster parts that bring the fusion and prog to bear nicely. There are some non-lyrical vocals here, too.
Sing My Song
Mellower, yet still quite dramatic, this is rather bluesy. It moves outward slowly with a lot of class and style. This turns harder rocking as it grows outward. There is some definite metallic guitar built into this thing. Yet, it still resolves to more melodic sections, as well. This a very classy number on a set that’s full of classy material.
The Road We Travel
Not a huge change from a lot of the stuff here, this does manage more of a metal edge at times. The bass work on this is so strong, particularly in the solo section. This has some powerhouse tones and sounds and some great musicianship.
Heavy Lifting
This screaming hot number makes me think of King’s X in some ways. There are some non-lyrical vocals here. The cut has a more mainstream texture in some ways, but it still pulls together the mix of metal and fusion elements with finesse. I love the cool bass work on the solo section.
Hey Where’d Everybody Go?
              
Rusty Nail
This is a mellower tune that has a lot of jazz built into it. It still manages to get powered up and rocking, though.
She Don’t Care
Now, this stomper really makes me think of King’s X a lot. It’s a killer tune that has vocals. It drops down to a mellower, more fusion based section later in the track. The guitar soloing is just so perfect on this thing.
Lazy Afternoon
A mellower sort of fusion sound is at the heart of this thing. The groove is so classy, and the cut just has such a great sound to it. There is some powerhouse bass playing here. A bit of a funky groove shows up at times. Of course, the guitar work is exceptional. Or perhaps it isn’t. I mean, if it’s this strong throughout the set, how is that exceptional. For another album it might be. Here it’s more like the rule.
Frankie’s Silver Hammer
High energy and rocking, this is another powerhouse fusion meets metallic jam. It’s not a big change, but when it’s this good, who cares? The guitar work on this has some of the most expressive passages of the whole disc, too.
Bring You Back
I dig the cool melodic fusion meets metallic rock that’s at the heart of this tune. This is another with vocals, too. This is a particularly strong tune. It gets into more pure rock zones at times. I dig the mellower section that comes in further down the road. It lends a different flavor to this.
Groove Alone
There is a real blues rock vibe to this killer tune. It is another with vocals. The vocals bring some definite jazz to it. I dig the horns on this cut. The whole thing just oozes cool. Listen to that groovy bass line. They take things into some more pure fusion for a guitar solo section later.
Right Hand Drive
This is another effective fusion jam. It makes for a good closing piece.
 
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