|Rival: State of Mind
Posted by Steve Ambrosius, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-02-02 08:54:20
Rival is a two piece band, which just happens to have four members. Okay, so maybe I'm not really being fair to the tandem guitarists of Chuck McNulty and Neven Trivic, but Rival lives and dies by machine-gun drumming of Gary Olson and the vocals of John Johnson. Johnson is also listed as the bass player, but it is so far down in the mix that it really is nothing more than an extension of the bass drum.
Don't get me wrong, the above is not meant as a criticism. Rival's latest CD State Of Mind is mature, hard-driving, Metal in the truest sense of the word. The hook in every song though is provided by the lightning quick drumming of Olson. And once the vocals begin, the rest of the mix is delegated to the background. Johnson will never be confused with Axl Rose or Dio, but his vocals fit the music and give the CD a Deep Purple/Black Sabbath flavor.
The title track to State Of Mind starts out aggressive, fast, but yet sounding mature. A drive-by shooting is the introduction to "Reach", which breaks off into a form of Metallica metal mania. Solid lyrics on this and "Tyrants" keep this from being fluff. Songs that rock, yet still have something to say are rare in this genre.
Rival is not presenting anything new with State Of Mind, but what you get is an intelligent, solid sounding Metal CD. This is not progressive metal, nu-metal, or anything except pure Metal. This is recommended to those that stand on the edge of liking Metal as well. The maturity and the amazing skill of Olson are worth adding this to your collection.