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Total B.S.: 2 The Core

Is it prog, metal, jazz, fusion or classic rock? The answer is not an easy one. That may be why this new band from Los Angeles is so hard to classify. If there is a band I have heard the last few months that I would consider genre defying this is it. Total B.S.'s first album is entitled 2 The Core and band members include Blair Gray (bass, guitars, backing vocals, production), Sara Rockoff (lead and backing vocals, production), Bryan Finch D'Booligan (drums, percussion) and Victor Stack (keyboards).

On first listen I was not sure what to make of this release, especially regarding Rockoff's vocals. She has an interesting and unique voice and it took me a couple of listens to get used to it but once I did it is actually quite good. She brings a retro vibe to many of these songs and she injects plenty of feeling into the music. One has to give the band credit for not following in anyone's footsteps and making music that is quite original, which is no small feat in this day and age of Dream Theater wannabes and Genesis clones. Special mention should also made of the excellent rhythm section of Gray and D'Booligan. Funky bass lines and intricate drum patterns permeate this disc adding many tempo changes and stop/starts along the way. Many of the tracks are punctuated with some interesting organ and synth work which also helps the band earn their prog credentials.

This is not your typical progressive rock as evidenced by the album's first song "Rivka to the Mix" where numerous tempo changes and even some rap style vocals make for an intriguing mixture of metal, funk and prog. Dynamic shifts in tempo and a funky drum/bass groove highlight the quirky "Found It" with some interesting synth noodling here and there and ending with some fusion style lead guitar. The '70s are alive and well with the fusion inspired "Total B.S." and Rockoff's retro sounding vocals. There is a cool, laid back feel at work here and the song flows nicely even though it is fairly complex. The band injects a little more atmosphere in the proggy "Following Forward" with its mixture of organ, synth and guitar and in the calming "What It Feels Like" with its subtle electronic ambience. With the breezy "Acoustic Ears" the band almost sounds like '70s era Heart and in the smooth "Finally Free" the band's penchant for jazz is well founded.

All the songs are good although there is the occasional misstep such as the polka section in the ambitious "One Word" that feels out of place amidst the metal riffage. Sometimes the band tries to do too much but other than that, 2 The Core is a solid debut album from a band that should be on a lot of people's radar. I look forward to hearing what they come up with next.


Track Listing:
1. Rivka to the Max
2. Found It
3. Total B.S.
4. For Another Day
5. Following Forward
6. One Word
7. What It Feels Like
8. Acoustic Ears
9. Lights On
10. Finally Free
11. Running the Race

Added: January 16th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2050
Language: english

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