Slave To The System
CD Label: Spitfire/Eagle Rock
I have been listening to the Slave To The System album non-stop for two months now. Yes, I got it long before its release date so I am guilty for not writing a more timely review. What can I say? I am busy. If the year were to end today, this would be my album of the year.
This band literally asks you the question, are you a slave to the system our society has created? This is a metal super group consisting of Kelly Gray (vocals, guitar), Scott Rockenfield (drums) from Queensryche and two members of Brother Cane, Damon Johnson (bass) and Roman Glick (guitar). They got together because Gray, who has done his share of production work with Rockenfield and other bands, suggested that the Brother Cane boys connect and jam with Scott. It was for shits and giggles as the band says on their website, and once they sent out some demo's people were getting excited about the music. I can see why. This is pure unadulterated metal energy. These players are ferociously adept at their craft, technically sound, and the lead singing is beyond reproach. Gray and Damon are perfect matches for their counterparts. Now a lot of music like this is unintelligible, not this band. The lyrics are poignant and understandable.
Every time I hear "Live This Life", I get chill that goes right up my spine then down my arm; it's magical and energetic as hell. That one track reminds me a lot of The Foo Fighters recent release. Dave Ellefeson's new band F5 comes to mind for the heavier side of their music with that raw and hungry attitude. It all comes pouring out their souls via their instruments. What is so extraordinary about this band is their ability to pull out all the stops and bang out a straight ahead metal rocker and then turn around and do a beautiful tune filled with dead to rights harmonies and great guitar lines. "Live This Life" and "Will You Be There" are great examples of that sound. They still rock but offer a gentler side of their persona. Ninety percent of the CD rocks so do not think it is a walk in the park. The opener "Stigmata," the title track, and "Cruise Out Of Control" is incredibly powerful, showing how chemistry in a band means everything. Rockenfield does not look like he is going to leave Queensryche any time soon but when this album catches fire, and it will, watch out, there may be two bands that start to fragment very quickly.
Where metal meets rock... it can be an explosive place but oh so sweet when you need a good shot in arm of music that is built to last, the kind that gives you a good boot in the ass, then leaves you sweating from the sheer electricity and atmosphere it creates. Then you find yourself looking for more, as if it's a drug that you need to survive. Now that is what I call being totally turned on by the music, this is what it's all about for this die-hard rocker. The only thing I am a slave to is music like this, man it's so damned good!