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Adrenechrome: Hideous Appetites

My best friend in High School used to watch Baywatch with the sound down; he said it was easier for him to check out the likes of Pamela Anderson (or whoever the popular female star at the moment) without having to listen to the dialogue. I always thought this was kind of funny. The show really wasn't all that engaging, but maybe there were other reasons someone may want to tune in.

My review of Adrenechrome has nothing to do with Baywatch. I only bring up that old show because I want to make a slightly similar observation about the music vs. the lyrics on this release. To begin with, Adrenechrome works really hard to create strong music. Each of the tracks on this EP give listeners a fairly diverse range of polished riffs, thoughtful and aggressive drums, and the occasional vocal harmonies. These guys have a bright future as songwriters, especially when they take their sound to the boundary between thrash and progressive music. Most listeners will surely recognize a pretty strong influence of recent work by Mastodon. "Locust Wings," for example, opens with a melodic passage that sounds like a deleted track from The Hunter. There are also several passages, sprinkled throughout the album, wherein the guitar parts use same kinds of modal passages and harmonies popularized by Mastodon. I don't like to overemphasize connections between bands. These guys have their own sound and stand firmly on their own creative feet; the stylistic similarities are hard to miss, but they work well enough. I'd like to see these guys explore even more complexity, both in their sound and their songwriting. They are obviously invested in preserving a progressive quality in their sound, but they could benefit from pressing harder on it, experimenting with it. My central critique of this short release is that the lyrics didn't always rise above themes that struck me as somewhat conventional. I don't mind it when bands choose not to explore complex lyrical themes; some of the best songs in rock and roll, after all, are based on some fairly simple ideas. I couldn't help but wonder, though, what else these guys could do with songs like "Hymn for the Heathens" "or "Six Guns," songs that basically remind us that some people aren't into organized religion and that gunfights are sort of cool, at least in the movies. The least interesting lyrics, however, were on "The Horror" mostly because they are trying to comment on Marlon Brando's famous delivery of those words in Apocalypse Now. To my ears, these lyrics didn't work very well, especially when the singer dramatically says "Marlon Brando" at a crucial part in the song. I couldn't help but think of Neil Young's own evocation of that name in "Pocahontas." For reasons I can't explain, Brando doesn't make for a good lyrical point of emphasis. Too many milk baths I guess.

Ultimately, this is a promising release by a strong band and deserves a listen. I'd recommend it for its strong musical performances and its smooth blend of thrash / progressive / and rock styles. If the lyrics fail to satisfy, they don't ruin the opportunity to enjoy some solid playing. I'd love to hear these guys blast out an instrumental track so fans can hear what they can do.

Track Listing:
1. Titan's Fall
2. Six Guns
3. The Horror
4. Hymn for the Heathens
5. Winds of the Void
6. Locust Wings
7. Hobbled

Added: December 12th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 1870
Language: english

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