Having spent some time with Coalition, which is the debut album from American Power Trio Careless (not the best band name you'll ever hear, even if the band do try to explain it as meaning to be musically free, which surely means they should be called Carefree??), I'm really not sure as to whether I should laugh with delight at the powerful, traditional Metal on offer here, or to cry that too much of Coalition is self indulgent and disposable.
The trio who make up Careless, drummer/vocalist James Collins, Walt Kosar on guitar and bassist Nolan Ayres first came together back in the early 80's, when the composed the first three hard hitting songs on this album, "Curtains", "Boundaries" and "DFM". It is testament to the undoubted talent of this three-piece that those early compositions are a controlled, yet ferocious melding of early iron Maiden and early Rush, showing Collins to be a rounded and aggressive vocalist in the vein of Bruce Dickinson meeting Graham Bonnet, whose equally skilled drumming adds greatly to these songs. The only issue I have with these songs is that on the odd occasion Kosar's guitar solos aren't quite as sympathetic to the song as they really should be, with his homage to Bach during "Boundaries" simply feeling tacked on for effect. That said though, the cardinal sin contained on Coalition - and one for which I dropped this album's rating by a full star - is that it contains what are in effect not only a bass solo, but a bloody drum solo as well!! No this isn't a live album, but "Between The Mayhem" is a decidedly unchallenging two minutes thirty of bass noodling, while "5ive" is a further couple of minutes wasted with a dextrous, if standard drum workout with synth backing.
It really is a shame that this otherwise hard hitting and focused, if not hugely original album, finds the talented trio responsible in the need to show off their personal skill, as the likes of "Contend In Vein" and "Blackened Walls Of Freedom", which along with most of the album originate from when Careless reconvened over the net in 2008, are convincing in your face, guitar led NWOBHM style romps. Add to that the intense, convincing attack that this band conjure up at will and when Careless really put their minds to it, they are pretty damn intense and captivating, however along with the solo "master classes", the fact that the final minute or so of "Blackened Walls Of Freedom" is made up of playground noises, means that five minutes of this album is almost immediately skipable.
When they're good, Careless are excellent, but when they let their ideas run away with them, their lack of ability to understand what becomes boring and pointless is disappointing to say the least.
4.Out Of Control
5.As Time Passes
6.Blackened Walls Of Freedom
8.Between The Mayhem
9.The Gods Themselves
11.Contend in Vein
Added: January 3rd 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Careless Central
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