IN THE DEPTHS OF MY OWN MIND, PA – Hey there y’all, its Chris The Progtologist back from the land of rainbows, pop-music and green, green woods with some metal single for your perusal. This week was a slightly painful one on the singles circuit as I had to torch some long time favorites, let an old band that wronged me years ago back in and fall in love with straight forward rock all over again. These are your singles to close out June and head into the summer with some new tunage.
Nothing More – “Go to War” – So what I feared would happen, has happened…the sophomore jinx. I know that this review has the title of one song on it, but I have to talk about the collective when it comes to Nothing More. “Go to War” is the third tune that I’ve heard from the new music released by Nothing More and I’m please and saddened to say that this one is BY FAR the best of the three so far.
This moody, slow paced rocker is not a bad song, but it’s not grabbing me like every song from their first two albums did when they first came out. We’ve waited 4 years for new music (some of us longer) and I have to say that when you wait that long, your expectations get very high, maybe unfairly so, but that’s what happens when you wait so long to make new music. As a result, I’m very disappointed in 2 out of the 3 new tunes, and the one I’m not disappointed in is a far cry from their old stuff.
Now I don’t want this to be a slaughter, so I will say that “Go to War” has the makings of a middling Nothing More song. It has some decent guitar work, and Johnny Hawkins has some great moments here. The pre-choruses and choruses are solid, but the real issue with this song is it feels forced. The title, the lyrics, the anthemic nature of all 3 of the songs I’ve heard feel like they are trying too hard. This is typical of a band facing huge expectations after a long time without new music.
The other two songs (“Don’t Stop” and “Everybody”) in my opinion are just bad songs that fail the same as “Go to War” except that they have very little to offer on the good side. “Don’t Stop” is a frustrating song because it always feels like it’s about to go somewhere, and then it doesn’t. It’s 3 or so minutes of the same thing over and over again. To be fair to “Everybody” (I think that’s the title, he said it like 97 times) I only heard it once and it was at a festival, so I’ll reserve an actual review of that tune until I can hear the recorded version. https://youtu.be/Q6c8X_s1h9Y
The Lucid – “Dreamseeker” – This 5 piece from Dallas-Fort Worth area group surprised me. This basic 5-piece (meaning 2 guitars, bass, drums, and singer) is initially, well basic….but after a few listens, this band weaves a nice texture of sound that you normally wouldn’t get from a straight forward rock band. They have elements of deep, brooding alt rock acts such as Staind or Deftones, but also have some bright harmonies and vocal melodies reminiscent of I,The Mighty and Nothing More. I’m very interested to hear more from The Lucid. https://www.reverbnation.com/thelucid9
Thundermother – “We fight for Rock N Roll” – Swedish chicks who rock my face off? WHERE DO I SIGN? I checked this band out simply because I was scoping out the Wacken Festival line up for next month, and I came across a band called ThunderMother. I was like “that’s an interesting name.” So I went to Spotify and listened to a bunch, including their brand new single.
Now, I’m going to say this right off the top, the name of this song telegraphs exactly what this song is, straight up ROCK cut from the cloth of AC/DC. Only real difference here is that this AC/DC style rock is performed by 4 bad ass women, with a lead singer with Lzzy Hale type balls. If you like ballsy rock singing with a ballsy rock beat and crunchy guitars, you definitely want to check out ThunderMother. https://youtu.be/yR_QzJF7LyY
Of Mice & Men – “Back to Me” – So it occurred to me the other day that over the past two years, I’ve seen Of Mice & Men like 4 times live and I’ve never stopped and listened to their music. So again I go to Spotify and who has a new single out, Of Mice & Men. This track is typical for a metal band in 2017, and really offers nothing new imo. This is not a put down, it’s just what it is. I feel like I’ve heard this song before even through the first listen. There’s nothing bad about this track, it’s melodic with a good, solid chorus, and a nice heavy breakdown in the middle of the song. With that said, there’s nothing to rave about either. To me, this song makes a great background track to a party, or a BBQ. https://youtu.be/1cp4lAWNm_Q
Tesseract – “Smile” – I’m not going to lie, I’ve been off of the Tesseract train for about 4 years now ever since I saw them live in San Francisco and they were using backing tracks for the lead singer. Thankfully they ditched Ashe O’Hara for former vocalist and Skyharbor vocalist Daniel Tompkins, and I can now give them another shot.
“Smile” is a pretty typical Tesseract offering, atmospheric, melodic, with a nice Djenty flavor to keep the song moving along. If you like Djenty Prog Metal, then check out this track. Tesseract is touring with Megadeth and Meshuggah currently, which might be the oddest tour I’ve seen in many years.
Prophets of Rage – “Unfuck the World” – Look, I tried to like this project, I really did. I was AMPED AS FUCK when they announced this. I was like “B-Real and Chuck D…HELL YEA,” because I remember the heyday of Cypress Hill and Public Enemy, and those two guys were full on bad asses. Then the videos of them doing Rage Against the Machine songs live surfaced, and it lacked THAT energy. Then I heard the first song “Prophets of Rage”, and it lacked THAT energy. Now this song has a blistering Tom Morello riff, and that classic RATM sound, and then they start vocalizing.
First off, as my 16-year-old would say, there’s something about “on-the-nose” lyrics that just make you cringe, “Unfuck the World” is the epitome of this theory. I expected some much more from two of the greatest lyricists that this world has ever seen.
Secondly, as far as their flow and sound goes, I’m not sure of it’s their fault necessarily, or if maybe Chuck D and B-Real aren’t made to rap over funk metal. I’ll admit, maybe it’s me, and maybe I’m just waxing poetically in my head for a reunion with Zack De La Rocha. Come Zack…$8-mill isn’t enough to tour for a summer? I hope what you’re doing is worth it man, because I guarantee, we’d love to see you come back. Sincerely, Chris The Progtologist…and the millions of fans around the world who feel like I do.
Written by Chris Elio for Bloodrock Media on June 27, 2017