Tia Carrera: Tried And True
On Tried And True, guitarist/engineer Jason Morales, clearly an ardent Hendrix disciple, leads his talented trio through a clutch of heavy distorted instrumental jams. And when I say heavy... Tried And True recalls some of the best instrumental passages in the recordings of Kyuss and other Doom Metal faves.
"Layback" comes roaring out of the box sounding like an aggressive Sabbath-Hendrix hybrid. For "Toas" the rhythm section is noticeably Sabbath-inspired as longtime drummer Erik Conn and new recruit bass wizard Curt Christenson keep it pounding and tight while slowing things down to sludgy, with wah wah effect and fuzz tones driving the song into space jam territory.
By the third track in, while being pretty captivating at times, the pounding "Swingin' Wing" also begins to reveal probably the greatest weakness of this band, which is that all these recordings feel like a groove-laden break or jam in the middle of a more fully realized song. That said it's hard to stop listening while Morales' compelling playing is gellng so well with the dynamic duo of Conn and Christenson.
"Zen And The Art Of The Thunderstorm" is a pretty good track at first but ultimately drones it's way into nowhere. The heavy blues/psych of "Tried and True" finishes off the album proper with another sludgy riff and a lot of Morales's fuzzy distorted jamming - naturally very reminiscent of Frank Marino's extended jams. At over fourteen minutes it doesn't need to ramble on as long as it does, but then again I never thought of abandoning it either. On the other hand two even longer bonus tracks, "Visitors" and "Early Purple," give us more heavy jamming that started to try my patience by the end. And with this we round out the CD to it's 71 minute length.
I suppose this band might have been frequently criticized for being a lot of the same over the course of their nearly 20 years together, but I don't want to slam them for not being something they're not trying to be. However I can't help thinking how they might amp up the proceedings if they added a great heavy Hammond organ player or a distinctive doom metal singer ro the mix. They could be nipping at the heels of Orange Goblin if they wanted to.
Nonetheless Tried And True manages to be a strong, bruising listen and will surely get some love from among the legion of Doom Metal fans, many of whom probably enjoy the instrumental passages of their favorite bands as much as anything. If you are one of those listeners this is truly the album for you. It was a little hard to decide where to rate this album but ultimately given the strength of the players and what they are trying to present I recommend giving this band and this album a listen. Keep your expectations grounded and enjoy it for what it is. I certainly did.
3. Swingin' Wing
4. Zen And The Art Of The Thunderstorm
5. Tried And True
7. Early Purple
Reviewer: Keith Fotheringham
Score: 3.5 stars
Added: March 7th 2021
Reviewer: Keith Fotheringham
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
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