First off, I hate the Dallas Cowboys. This goes back to the days of Tom Landry and Roger Staubach. It is a long standing and deep loathing of all things related to this team. So, here comes this band which is formed by three members of Dallas' offensive line who hooked up with a local guitar slinger and come out with an EP that turns out to be a very good foray into the world of metal. I wanted to hate this disc so much but just can't. I guess my love for good music is stronger than my hatred of all things Cowboy!
There are only five songs on this album but within then are the makings of a group that could become a force in the world of metal. They have a sound that is very radio friendly but still retains a punch that appeals to the headbangers in me.
The song "In You Head" which opens the disc is a good example of how they use their thrashy goodness to perfection. It is easy to hear they have grown up with the likes of Metallica and Megadeth but they manage to put their own stamp on this genre thanks in no small part to guitarist Justin Chapman and the vocal snarl of Marc Colombo. Marc must get a little attitude starring across the line at those linebackers who are intent on ripping his head off and it comes out in this song with a growly approach that will remind you of the heyday of the groups that I mentioned.
The title track "Tragedy" has a more melodic style and follows along the lines of someone like Drowning Pool or Saliva. They pull this type of sound off just as well and Marc's cleaner vocals are amazingly good. He already shows a range that many would die for and I would not be surprised to start hearing this song pop up on the airwaves.
Along a similar vein is the heavy "Rise Up". With pounding rhythms and a Disturbed combo of clean and scream, Free Reign is certainly in a position to make a mark on the music scene. This is another of those that is radio ready and would be welcomed over the majority of crap we hear nowadays.
They slow things down a bit with the very cool melodic "Last Goodbye" where they combine the elements of a power ballad with the fierceness of their thrash style and the results are extremely good. Guitarist Justin Chapman pulls off his best work on this song as he contributes just the right kind of melodic style when needed and then lets the hammer down when called upon.
They end the album with as much, if not more of the heaviness that they started out with. "All In Vain" has some of their most brutal chops but also some of their most outstanding melodic moments too. This combo which is the core of their music is what will have you returning time and time again to this disc.
Footballers playing metal, I had shades of the Super Bowl Shuffle flash by me as I thought about this possibility. Well don't fear as these guys would leave the Bears a pile of mosh pit casualties in there quest for a metal touchdown. This is a great start to their drive but we will have to wait for the next disc to see if they score six or if we will have to settle for a field goal. I have the feeling that they will be kicking an extra point after the next one.
1. In Your Head
3. Rise Up
4. Last Goodbye
5. All In Vain