Review written by Chris Lockett
This last week saw the release of new music from some extremely heavy hitters. Inside you will find reviews for Soundgarden’s first brand new release since 1996’s “Down On The Upside”, Godsmack’s cover of Joe Walsh’ “Rocky Mountain Way”, a new song from P.O.D., the debut single from former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler’s new band (Adler), a new song from former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch’s new band (Love and Death), as well as the latest release from My Darkest Days. Only one of the songs can be crowned as my pick for “Single Of The Week”, and surprisingly enough, it was a pretty easy choice this week. Want to know which band gets the crown? Hit the jump to find out!
Soundgarden – “Live To Rise”
Its been over 15 years since Soundgarden released their last studio album, “Down On The Upside”. And now, after breaking up with Audioslave, and failing with his last solo album, (yeah, that’s right, the one produced by Timbaland), lead singer Chris Cornell has decided to get his original band back together. But wait a minute, I’m saying this like it happened recently. Well let me clarify, the band got back together almost 3 DAMN YEARS AGO, and they haven’t released jack shit in the way of new material, up until now. AND, wait for it… Soundgarden’s first all new song in 15 years was made specifically for The Avengers soundtrack. That’s right, it’s not even from their upcoming album, (which has been delayed numerous times by the way). Seriously though, The Avengers soundtrack? I can smell the green already! Anyways, putting the band’s stupidity aside, how is the actual song? Well, it’s not bad per se, it’s just not exactly good either. See, when I hear that there’s a new song from Soundgarden, I expect the song to sound like Soundgarden, and not Audioslave or Chris Cornell’s solo career (even though I personally prefer those two projects to Soundgarden, sans the Timbaland album of course). And unfortunately for major Soundgarden fans, this song honestly sounds nothing like Soundgarden. As a matter of fact, the only thing that even remotely resembles the band, is the opening riff (which even then, sounds more like Black Sabbath lite than Soundgarden). As for the verses, they sound like Chris Cornell’s solo career, featuring a soft croon from the singer, as opposed to Soundgarden’s signature wailing. And then finally there’s the chorus, which is big and open much like Audioslave’s sound. So obviously major Soundgarden fans aren’t going to like this, and even though I prefer Audioslave and Chris’ solo career, I can’t say that I like this song much either. It just doesn’t have the quality songwriting, and memorability of the aforementioned bands. To be completely frank about it, the song just sounds like a band that’s been out of the game for way too long, trying to make a quick dollar. It’s lazy, it’s embarrassing, and I honestly feel bad for the diehard Soundgarden fans who were expecting to hear some good music. I’d say to hold out for the band’s new album, (which Cornell has promised will be a return to form), but it doesn’t look like it’s coming out any time soon. Plus, I don’t have much faith left in Chris Cornell anyway.
Godsmack – “Rocky Mountain Way”
Cover songs are an art form in and of themselves. It’s hard to get it just right, because on one hand you want to stay faithful to the original, and on the other hand you want to make it your own. It’s a very tough line to tread, and most artists end up failing just because they went the tiniest bit too much toward one side or the other. Godsmack are not one of those artists. Throughout their career, Godsmack has done cover songs from many different artists, ranging from Black Sabbath, to Led Zeppelin. And now, the band has opted to release a live album, containing a bonus disc of four different covers. The first release from the covers disc, is Joe Walsh’ “Rocky Mountain Way”, a classic folk rocker that definitely doesn’t seem like a good fit for Godsmack. But don’t judge too quickly, the band pulls it off with ease. It has the same layout as the original version, but the band has done away with the piano, acoustic guitars, and soft vocals. And in their place are hammering bass and percussion, wailing electric guitars, and Sully Erna’s signature growling vocals. They have also given the song a heavy southern vibe, which suits it perfectly. Honestly though, I can’t say that I’m surprised that the song turned out as great as it did. Godsmack ALWAYS deliver, and have never given me any reason to doubt them.
P.O.D. – “Lost In Forever”
P.O.D. is, in my opinion, one of the most hit or miss bands of all time. They are a Christian Nu-Metal band, and it’s because of this that they are known to sometimes get a little too cheesy and sentimental with their lyrics. However, I am happy to report that with their latest single, (the first off of their upcoming eighth studio album), they are able to keep things out of the “I feel so alive/For the very first time/And I think I can fly” territory. Instead, they have chosen to write a pretty powerful song about questioning your existence, and trying to figure out the point of this life. The production on this song is superb, featuring lots of echoing instrumentals and vocals, as well as some subtle background synths that aren’t immediately noticeable but are there too add some extra depth to the song’s spacey, cosmic sound. I can honestly say, without a shadow of a doubt that this is easily one of P.O.D.’s best songs. The lyrics are deep and meaningful, and the instrumentation and production provide a beautiful and open backdrop for them. To call this song a pleasant surprise, would be an understatement.
Adler – “The One That You Hated”
Steven Adler is known for being the former drummer for Guns N’ Roses, as well as for his two stints on Celebrity Rehab. But now he hopes to be known for his brand new band, “Adler”. The band features Steven on drums, Johnny Martin on bass, former Lynam frontman Jacob Bunton on vocal duties, and finally guitarist Lonny Paul. The band has released the first single from their upcoming album, and boy is it a throwback to the 80s. The song features strong verses and a larger than life chorus, that is much more Reminiscent of Def Leppard than Guns N’ Roses. It’s extremely catchy as well, so don’t go in expecting to listen to it just once, as the constant stream of the song’s chorus in your head will practically force you to hit the play button at least a half a dozen more times. So, needless to say, it’s an expertly crafted tune, but what really makes it stand out is the fact that it is able to cater to more than one audience. And to top it all off, it’s able to it so effortlessly. See, it may be a throwback to the 80s, but it also has modern sensibilities, that the majority of the bands that are still around from that era are sorely lacking. It might have to do with the fact that Adler himself is the only band member who was making music back then, and the rest of the band is a lot younger, but whatever the case may be, it’s a match made in rock and roll heaven.
Love and Death – “Chemicals” (Single Of The Week)
Former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, left the band in 2005 in order to pursue a Christian solo career. In 2008 he released his first solo album, which, while a far reaching and commendable effort, didn’t quite hit its mark. Now, “Head” is back and releasing a brand new EP, with a brand new sound, under the moniker “Love and Death”. And dear readers, this new sound does more than hit its mark. After releasing the first single (“Paralyzed”) off of the upcoming EP a few months ago, and impressing the hell out of me with it, “Head” has now released the EP’s second single, “Chemicals”, and in the process has proved that lightning does indeed strike twice. To be quite honest, I’d rather not go into detail about this song. It is one that needs to be experienced firsthand, and contains many surprises that would only act as a disservice to reveal here. All I can say is, it’s heavy (as you’d expect), it’s reminiscent of Korn in a few spots (though it has its own unique sound), and to top it all off, it’s completely unpredictable. It’s an incredible, emotionally charged song, that quite frankly couldn’t have been made by anyone other than Brian “Head” Welch. His pained and tortured sounding vocals will get under your skin with ease, and his outstanding guitar playing only serves to make the song that much more powerful (and speaking of powerful, wait until you hear the last 30 seconds of the song). This, my friends is a must listen!
My Darkest Days – “Sick and Twisted Affair”
To say that I’m conflicted on this band is an understatement. On one hand, they have a pretty unique sound and they know how to write catchy songs. On the other hand, their lyrics are EXTREMELY stupid, and there’s something about the way that three of the band members combine their vocals that makes them sound a little too close to something like N’Sync, (as opposed to the Alice In Chains esque sound that they are probably trying to go for). Either way though, I feel that if you are able to turn off your brain for a little bit, you will find that there is enough to like about the band to give one of their albums a spin. As for this particular song, (the second single off of the band’s sophomore album also titled “Sick and Twisted Affair”), it pretty much sums up the band perfectly. It has their signature sound, (piano in the background, distorted guitars, the aforementioned combined vocals, and slick production), and is the type of song you might catch a young lady with daddy issues, sliding down a pole to. This obviously isn’t anything groundbreaking or even semi-intelligent, but if you feel like listening to some mindless entertainment, then this song might just be worth your time.