|Adriangale Crunch||Kivel Records|
The biggest surprise of 2004 is not the fact that Adriangale have been resurrected and recorded an album in secret, but the fact that this totally blows both previous albums right out of the water and then some.|
In fact, this is not only the band's best ever release, but the best ever release from Kivel Records as a whole and is a definite contender for album of the year.
Previously content to walk in the shadow of Harem Scarem, Adriangale's main man Vic Rivera has really pulled one out of the bag. This release is light years ahead of Feel The Fire and Re:Programed for maturity of songwriting, quality of production and the performances delivered. This is a better record in every single department.
And credit must also go to powerful new guitarist Scott Millar, replacing Eddie Campbell, who abandoned the band for a solo career on another label and hasn't been heard from since.
For perhaps the first time, Adriangale have their own style. In no way have the guys abandoned their trademark sound, but they have built on that and have added a new twist that will define them as a band.
Crunch is a more technical record – it's a more intricate record and it's definitely a more complete record.
This isn't as straight forward as previous efforts and features a darker and moodier vibe, not to mention a tougher, in your face guitar sound. Add to that a powerhouse production and added layers of everything else and you get an album that really will see the band hailed alongside the likes of better know artists.
The attitude and sound are now closer to Danger Danger (4 The Hard Way) and Van Hagar than Harem Scarem and it suits the guys 100%.
I've always felt Adriangale were a great band, but something was missing – especially production wise. The songs were not supported by the sound quality they needed. That too has been corrected here – big time. Even better songs are now fully supported with a full beefy sound that rivals major releases for quality.
Track By Track:
Breaking Stride is a short, but rocking instrumental intro that fades before Crunch! kicks in. Jamie Rowe is in full force, singing with more passion and a more aggressive edge than ever before. This rocking track that isn't a world away from the track Feel The Fire is supported by a hard edged AC/DC style riff. The chorus takes a while to appear, but when it does it's a cracker! The additional layers of vocal harmonies and production quality are noted!
Faith is one of those uptempo melodic rock tracks that fans love – a big crunchy chorus and a verse that is totally driven by a great vocal hook. The song is supported by some fine guitar work, but its Jamie's vocal work that adds extra melody to this straight up rocker.
Without A Moment's Notice is a first rate, emotional rock ballad. The track oozes class and features a big Def Leppard style sound, along with some highly emotional vocals. Harmony vocals are expertly placed again and come time for the killer chorus, the track is blasted into the stratosphere.
Tougher Than It Looks and When In Rome both take us back to the basics – straight ahead rockers with striking guitar riffs and a tough lead vocal in both cases.
"Tougher" features a strong chorus with some tasteful guitar soloing, while "Rome" features a swaggering groove and a more laid back vibe.
At this point I wanted to hear something different and the band delivers big time. This remains one of my favourite tracks from the album and showcases the band's new found maturity in songwriting and delivery.
Long Gone is a dark and moody track, with an intense feel more in line with the last offerings from Van Halen. But the chorus strikes out against the rest of the song, transforming the angst ridden song into an anthemic sing along.
The Thin Line continues the darker and tougher vibe of the last track, with an even heavier guitar and rhythm line. Jamie sings within himself initially before breaking out and providing additional melody to the song, just with his vocals. The chorus is simple, but effective in the context of the track itself.
Question continues the dark and heavy vibe set by the last few tracks. The band remain true to themselves though, this is classic Adriangale - just a little more intense.
The verse builds throughout, it's almost like you can hear something coming. And like the title track we get two versus before chorus time, so when it does arrive it has even more impact. And man, does this song rock. I love this chorus – it remains mid-tempo, but Jamie reaches out there and is supported by layers of harmony vocals and some great guitar riffs. Killer stuff by any definition of the term. And this again reminds me of later day Van Halen and recent Danger Danger.
Freedom is a 3 minute instrumental interlude in the best tradition of what Pete Lesperance does for Harem Scarem. Very melodic, very pleasant and in the scheme of the album, is well placed.
It ends in the same tone as This Time starts. Softly does it, before guitars and the band kick in. This breezy feel good pop rocker is the perfect reply to several darker tracks and is another example of why this album works so well – it's fabulously put together and really does have a smooth-ass running order. A great chorus and some more well placed harmonies make the track another winner.
Finishing the album in fine style is the uptempo rock ballad Last Call. This is a rich, mid-tempo'd multi-layered track that again oozes class and features a moody and passionate vocal from Jamie and several layers of guitars.
This is a classic melodic hard rock record in the best and most melodic tradition of the genre we all love. This is the type of record bands strive to record and labels search to release. I can't imagine anyone not being impressed with the record and I know that anyone that has previously bought anything Adriangale or Jamie Rowe is just going to be blown away.
A major release by any standards and one that helps prove there is life in this genre and this style of music.
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