Ones To Watch: Rock Sound CD 117

This picture accurately represents how lazy the team has been.Things have been a bit slack around here recently, apologies. Here then is a run through of the Rock Sound ‘Ones To Watch for 2009’ CD that I picked up at the end of last year and was supposed to be a review that fitted into the December timeslot. Alas, contributing factors meant that this got delayed and due to the fact nothing ever gets released in January and the hunt for bands for Mad Mac to ‘review’ is a little thin on the ground, this will have to do.

The Answer ”“ Highway Or Hell

Like a younger version of Iron Maiden if they played the blues, consumed by the raging cock-rock strut of ACDC, The Answer offer up nothing new to this thing we call ‘music’ but manage to blurt out a sturdy, guitar solo-soaked splatter, complete with a generously high-pitched wail courtesy of vocalist Cormac Neeson. A band I could only listen to in small doses, if at all.

Middle Class Rut ”“ Busy Bein’ Born

Fucking terrible names aside, MCR (I mean the acronym alone is dire to the very core) are a two-piece from Sacramento, who favour a Rage Against The Machine style structure, dual vocal chants and the big, shuddering riffs that made Refused ‘New Noise’ such a hardcore anthem for the disgruntled youth of 1998. Like previous duos, they certainly make a suitable racket, which has to be commended.

LeATHERMOUTH ”“ Bodysnatchers 4 ever

LeATHERMOUTH lose points for their stupid upper-lowercase name; come on guys, this isn’t 1998 where we all wRiTe LiKe OuR cApSlOcK hAs GoNe InSaNe. There seems to be very little ideas here, merely hacking huge chunks from other bands who scream and thrash their instruments to firewood. Apart from that, yeah it’s a decent stab at punching a large pissed off whole in the hardcore template; although the vocalist needs to find his ‘sound’ and stop ripping off all those soar-throat hate machines that have come before him.

Narrows ”“ Chambered

Narrows are as brutal as a Cog Gear snapping the heads off of bunny rabbits. Featuring the alumni of several brilliant but deceased hardcore/mathcore bands (Some Girls, Botch, Bullet Union), their sound is and sharp, acerbic taste converge-infused discordance that is jarring and as vocalist Dave Verellen’s states, ‘CRUSHING!’ ”“ Definite ones to keep an eye on.

And So I Watch You From Afar ”“ Set Guitars To Kill

Never a phrase to utter to a beautiful girl, lest you fancy a knee to the happy sacks. Being a big fan of the And So I Watch You From Afar boys, I was confident in their skill to create something beautiful and brutal at the same time ”“ they did. They don’t sound like an army matching to war now; they sound like a whole continent. The tribal drumbeats, huge ‘sun-blocking-out’ guitars and this threatening, low end hum of monstrous noise is truly majestic. Their ability to make instrumental rock music sound more than the simple quiet-loud-quiet-loud dynamic and still hold the listener’s interest is quite something; an incredible band.

Black Spiders ”“ St. Peter

I hope John Garcia and Hermano don’t hear this otherwise Black Spiders could be in trouble. It’s a stab at breaking into the stoner rock market, but sounds far too familiar and quite frankly, it’s been done before and it’s been done so much better.

Anberlin ”“ The Resistance

Earnest, heartfelt and with that slight edge that makes Anberlin a decent sounding act. I’d already written them off as bed-wetter clone-bot emo, but this is a raucous, but polished slice of alt-rock that uses the huge-chorus and pummelling riff combo to excellent effect.

Viva Machine ”“ Futuristic Dracular

The only thing I don’t like about this is the vocals. The music itself, is pretty good, bringing to mind the spiked frenzy of Jarcrew, with fast pop-punkish aesthetics, but it’s let down by the high-pitched, wailing of the dual vocalists and their back and forth word play, which I feel should appeal, but sadly falls flat.

The Freezing Fog ”“ The Dweller Upon The Threshold Of Time

Imagine you’re in a car, no CD player, just a radio. You switch between channels and you start to hear the opening bars to ‘The Dweller Upon The Threshold Of Time.’ Why you haven’t turned the volume up to 11, put your foot down and made the car take off, ala the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off then there’s something wrong with you.

Pulled Apart By Horses ”“ High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive

The trademark scrappy guitar/bass/drum clatter of Pulled Apart By Horses is always a welcoming prospect. Their earnest crash-course in making a slovenly racket of mangled punk rock, with a touch of unfinished old-school thrash is a delight. (For more PABH info, check the single review here.)

Trap Them ”“ Flesh And Below

LeATHERMOUTH could learn a lot from this Salem quartet ”“ i.e. this is how you make good hardcore lads. Trap Them take the emotional intensity and rage of The Hope Conspiracy, mixed with the desolate sound of The Banner and fronted by the Cyberdemon from Doom.

Tombs ”“ Gossamer

Two drummers? Apparently not, despite the commotion caused by the percussion section on ‘Gossamer’ I can be forgiven for thinking this. The drumming is astounding; blending almost two different tunes into one cacophony of terror, whilst the dread-inducing guitar and bass wail over the top and vocalist Mike Hill attempts to make his hollow, dead-sounding voice heard. Amazing.

Bury Tomorrow ”“ Her Bones In The Sand

The gruff “raaaaarraaaaaooorrgghhhh” vocals aren’t bad, even the little screamy bits that don’t quite fit in, however, the bog-standard nature of the tune, which seems to have been cut from the metalcore emplate that is possibly transparent from overuse.

The Boy Will Drown ”“ We Take ‘The’ Out Of Psychotherapist (Demo)

Sounds like a load of farmyard animals trying to play music. The vocalist seems to be of the porcine variety, as the only words I managed to make out consisted of a series of oinks and grunts. It makes Disturbed’s David Draiman sound positively normal.

Sevendust ”“ Prodigal Son

I always thought Sevendust were nu-metal? They seem to have taken on that southern-metal vibe that most bands are now ripping off at the moment. Oh well, might as well jump on the bandwagon. Actually, this isn’t too bad and would probably fit nicely as a song on a Guitar Hero/Rock Band game with no problem at all. Actually, I swear I’ve played/sung this at some point.


See above; upcoming features include another installment of the Mad Mac series, the Amazon £5 album deal and another ‘remember these guys…’ article. Exciting!

By Ross Macdonald

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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