Every Monday seems to get to you, doesn’t it? I mean, you’re probably exhausted right now as you slurp your way through a soggy bowl of cereal and a lukewarm cup of joe. And why shouldn’t you be? You worked hard this weekend. You mowed the lawn, or you chased after your kids, or you cleaned the house, or watched endless hours of television. Whatever. I know. I did the same thing. I’m exhausted too, but we can work through this, my friends. Let’s get through these next couple of discs. I’ll tell ya’ what you need to know, you’ll go out and buy them. That’s the deal . . . and once you’re kickin’ back in morning rush hour traffic, listening to your recently acquired music, you’ll think back to this and thank me. You always do.
Sometimes you just want to rock out. You want to get behind the wheel of whatever vehicle you happen to operate, and you just want to go fast, hard, and heavy. You want to lower your reflective sunglasses over your eyes, lower the front windows, and hurl yourself through traffic that for most would be an alarming rate of speed. But, for you . . . things haven’t become alarming yet. This is just getting the blood pumping. You haven’t even broken a sweat yet. “Alarming” will only occur if the rig you’re driving becomes airborne and there’s no bottom in sight. For this adventure in high octane induced frivolity, you’re going to need music that matches your steel reserve. You’re going to need some music that allows you to give the man nod of respect to the cars you’re passing. The perfect soundtrack is Cycle of Pain’s self titled debut.
Led into action by our new found hero and Lord of the Low End, John (J.D.) DeServio, this band struts with a confidence like they’ve been here and done this, that, and the other more than once before. And, a lot of that attitude could come from DeServio’s years as the bassist for Black Label Society. Hey . . . you don’t spend a career working side by side with Zakk Wylde and not earn a little swagger to your step! Cycle of Pain is an up tempo, head bobbin’, muscle flexin’ dose of straight forward hard edged rock and heavy metal. Imagine if you will the more standardized metal sounds of Ozzy mixed with dissonant wail and vocal tones of Soundgarden, heavy and bruising, but with an infectious injection of melody. DeServio also enlisted the aid of some of his friends within the world of the hard and heavy, including his long time partner in crime, Zakk Wylde, Ray Luzier from Korn, Sen Dog from Cypress Hill, members of Tantric, Symphony X, and a horde of other names that will make you nod your head and say, “Whoa.”
Damn near every song on here gets you at some point, but “Reign Down,” “ Do My Work,” and “I See Heaven” are the key moments. “Reign Down” being a hard edged guitar clinic highlighted by the Chris Cornell-esque vocal work Greg Locascio, and it shows the bands ability to bring the hurt in the form of the almighty riff. “Do My Work” with its hip hop groove and sternum shuttering low end features the vocals of Sen Dog, will make you want to reach for bong for breakfast. “I See Heaven” shows a more, dare I say, sensitive and ambitious side to the band, with its piano driven verse, string section, and crooning vocals. All of these elements give the tune an epic feel. Pay special attention to DeServio’s bass work on this one. He shows his diversity extremely well throughout as he hangs in the pocket one minute, massaging the groove, and then bending the strings and squeezing every emotion out of the notes. Cycle of Pain is a solid disc and a strong release. www.myspace.com/cycleofpain
buy here: Cycle of Pain
I may be stretching the limits on the definition of metal with this one, but it definitely has its metal moments, all filled with youthful angst, dissonant aggression, and edgy tension. Maybe it would more aptly fit in a punk piece or an alt-rock review, but the band has labeled themselves metal to some degree, so who the hell am I to argue? Let’s get into this. Downfall 2012 hail from Houston, Texas and play some of the most funky ass, groove oriented, metallic tinged rock this side of my office. Take the jazzy drum work of Casey Bowen with the less is more dub-metallic approach of guitarist/vocalist Danny Gil, and place them on the shoulders of the mad funk bass meanderings Danny “Boo” Rogers, and what you end up with is an eclectic mix of songs that will inevitably have you bobbing your head with the rhythm and smiling at all passerby’s like you hold a very dark secret next to your heart.
One part RHCP, one part Tool, one part 311, one part Lord only knows, and a healthy dose of who gives a fuck, makes Downfall 2012 the album that has spent more time flying in and out of my CD player than any other disc to date. It’s not just that this album is packed with great tunes, but that everyone of them has something new to offer . . . something interesting to keep me guessing as to what direction they’re gonna’ go in next. Kinda’ like watching that amped up kid running through Walmart . . . in one hand, a half consumed can of Coke, in the other, a Pixie stick . . . plastic gnawed through on one end, powdered sugar product leaving a trail across the floor like gunpowder from a keg in those old Looney Toon cartoons.
“8:28” is a metal tinged faux reggae ditty that gets me every time that I hear it. The contrast between the verses and chorus is great! Going from a bass driven reggae groove to a metalized guitar run shows just one side of the bands diversity. It should be noted that there’s a great guitar solo on the song, as well. “Day One” is highlighted by the funked out bass work, very reminiscent of Flea, before the tune tightens up to a heavily distorted and a bit more a straight forward rocker. “Push to Paralyze” is a flat out groove-fest that consistently works out my abs as I sway back and forth, but like all of Downfall 2012’s work, don’t be content with just groovin’ coz’ right around the corner is another breakdown that’ll rock your pants off. Which, of course, is most disconcerting when driving to the office. I’m gonna’ have to rethink playing this one first thing in the morning. - Pope JTE