|The territories this recently-formed band moves along are Rock and Metal, sometimes more on one side than the other, always reinventing it in a fresh way, still so fucking Rock. Embryon are a British band and this can be recognized by the guitar sounds and also by vocal lines, powerful and catchy at the same time in a way that is steadily influenced by their homeland. After all, it's difficult to leave one's roots aside and probably it's not even their intention.
Their self-produced 11-track cartoon-CD starts with "Don't Believe", a lively and energetic riff-laden song with a perfect refrain, amazing vocals (even one growl!), and crackling drums, followed by "In Your Head", mixing Rock guitars and vocals, heavy drumming, pulsating bass lines and keeping a Metal insertion delighting us with a guitar solo; a composition suitable to take no prisoners live and to be often replayed in listening rooms of folks whose discography contains albums by Danko Jones and the likes.
"Watch the Embers" winks at some Therapy?, Datsuns, Foo Fighters and also certain Punk mixed with soulful Alt rock. Very clever has the act been to get influences but in not being drowned by them, so as to create something personal.
With "Feed the Circle" the pace is fast until a break that reminds of System of A Down; the track offers much more and the crazy vocals are quickly replaced by others expressing several different moods; therefore I can only kneel down and congratulate the vocalist on his performance.
"Devoid (Send Me Home)" seems a successful example of Class rock touching hearts, alternated with an epic hymn structure a la P.O.D. that will make closed fists rush forwards during their shows and disruptive Metal drums that will make your hair fly backwards. Parallelly "Mean Machine" shows contrasts between melodic and distorted/aggressive parts, even though in a totally different way. What doesn't change is the result: these songs contain lots of hooks and top-notch vocal lines (often echoed from far away) but not those of the kind making you tired or irritated after a couple of listens.
"Lost" adds a few samples to the recipe and I have to admit they're no mean; the rest of the song enjoys a good additional arrangemen, a Bad Religion-like refrain and the sharpest guitar solo of the album, which matches with the untiring skinbeater's work.
As for your daily small bad problems, injustices and quarrels, no worry! They can be easily forgotten thanks to "Voyager", as positive as it is invigorating. I have no doubts this track is gonna conquer fellow-feelings both between teenagers and their parents.
The record's highlight arrives with "Thrill Kill", an irresistible piece that doesn't mean to invent anything within the Rock/Metal panorama but works so well that you will be urged to turn the volume knob on and you won't be able to keep your feet still.
A twisted riff is the protagonist of the beginning of "Clone", paying duty to a darker and more modern manner of interpreting Rock. Not as easy to assimilate as the previous tracks, but not negative at all for this reason. The fat kick drums and the piercing guitar are opposed to the catartic vocals, soon making way to an obsessive refrain. Well done, guys!
5,5 minutes are entrusted with the closure of the platter; "Temple" deceives you with its heavenly serene beginning, yet slowly it becomes more tribal and hypnotic and finally sprints like Raw Power in "After Your Brain" or similar Hardcore classics; there's much more of course, something like declamatory, melodic passages which will give some rest to the people pogoing in the pit. Finally, it'd be unfair not to mention the fine and chiselled guitar plot here, which gives more than a simple plus to the track economy in the end.
Mission accomplished by the English four-piece, capable of releasing a product destined to glue your arses to your chairs and couches for 48 minutes. Considering the music litter we're face-slapped everyday by product placement spin-doctors it appears to be a worthy goal to me. That's why it's so frustrating to live in this upside-down world where not seldom deals are signed by talentless acts especially put together by major companies, while other praiseworthy musicians can find no label support whatsoever.
I have mixed feelings about the relation between music and the Internet: on one side it damages artists because there are so many just downloading Mp3's or whole full-lengths from the web who haven't purchased a CD in years. I am aware of the crisis, our small flat capacity, the majority of the youth have no future and little money, but damn it, we don't happen to hear complains about the price of a ticket very often, while a disk may last a life.
On the other hand, Myspace, Last.fm and other sites of the likes open a comfy, relatively cheap door to the world like never before to those in search of new tunes within the genres they dig the most.
So a strike of luck and a decent promotion can really make the scales tip in favour of the second possibility and therefore allow the Kentian quartet to give birth to a sophomore release and maybe an official complete reprint of its debut, too.
But if you ask me, the Brits take out the best riffs and vocal lines I've heard in Raw Heavy rock in the last years and they aren't just one of the Rock bands out there. They are the essence, the future of Rock and I'm looking forward to being at one of their fiery live shows. Thanks to their stunning ability of merging different genres in quirky original ways, always keeping songs smooth and groovy, they can be probably classified as the Frank Zappa of the decade.
As I see it: if you don't like them, you are not normal.
|MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - June 20th, 2010|
Line-up on this record:
Dave Frawley - vocals and guitar
JC Cothias - guitar and backing vocals
Ross Standen - drums
Gary Friend - bass guitar and back-up vocals
Ashford Kent - UK
-Embryon (cartoon-CD - 2009)