Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Kervin/I think I see Evil

November 9, 2003

kervinKervin/I think I see Evil

Best Element: Blistering vocals over vitriolic guitars.

Genre: Rock.

Website: www.whoiskervin.com

Label: n/a

Politics and music have crossed many a time. In the sixties, it was folk protesters; in the seventies, everybody was anti-war, in the eighties, we had Farm Aid and Band Aid and Kool-Aid (just kidding); In the Nineties we had the manic funk of Rage Against The Machine; and today we have those hyperactive metalheads System of a Down. You can add to that list Kervin, who takes the best ideas of both Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down, combines them, and just blows everyone else out of the water.

Yes, Kervin just might be the best political band ever. By taking the lyrical rage of SOAD and pairing it with the machine-gun vocals of Anupum Mehrota (think Zak de la Rocha, only more bitter, less tonal, and way faster), Kervin has created a frontman who is virtually invincible- every single line here is memorable, screamable, quotable, and amazing. Try scratching these phrases in a bathroom stall somewhere: “Hey! Gallant rogues and dopes! You’ve all been appointed the citizens of the month!”, “”Gain wealth, forgetting all but self- hail patriots and twenty-four karats!”, or “Convenient conclusions stifle revolutions!”

If not already obvious by those quotes, here’s the facts: The guys in Kervin have put some blistering social commentary in this album. But don’t worry, this isn’t partisan angst; Instead of tackling ‘issues’, Kervin tackles issues, like uncaring citizenry (“Citizen of the Month”), war (“The Surgeon”), selfish rich people (“Mimic the Accident”), governmental diversion tactics on people (the ironic screaming of “Go, Yao Ming, Go!” during “Weird in the Public”), and governmental corruption (Every track on this album). They lay it all out in an essay as well- and even though this is 10 tracks of blistering rant and diatribe, the message never gets old. Maybe it’s because nobody is saying this stuff…perhaps more people should.

In creating a guitarist, they used this equation: [(Tom Morello – crazy pedal effects) + (SOAD Guitarist – metalhead tendencies + tougher rhythms)] = guitarist. That end result turned out to be Apurva Mehrota, a guitarist of the most unique quality. The riffs are all brilliant, with the exception of one instrumental track that was really just pointless. Each guitar line fits the ravings of Anupum perfectly, whether chugging away mercilessly (“Weird in the Public”), or jangling along harmlessly (“The Surgeon”), or rocking out in a very unique way (“Silent Alarm”, “Mimic the Accident”). The best instance of guitars is “Mimic the Accident”, which features a great single-note riff accented by pulsing bass, until a palm-muted riff takes over, which leads into a punishing chorus riff. The chorus here is the best on the album- you can just feel the seething anger held by the band here. This leads into a solo section that’s beyond words- it’s just stunning in its technique, tone, and note structure. I’ve heard it multiple, multiple times and I still can’t predict where it’s going next when I hear it. It’s that good.

So now that you know the amazing parts, I can tell you this: the whole is better than the parts. I haven’t even talked about the hyperactive bass lines or the perfectly punctual drumming. The best example of everything working together is “Citizen of the Month”. It starts out with guitar noise for a couple of seconds, before letting loose a vocal line that sounds like it’s trying to break free from the constraints of tempo, so rapid-fire is the delivery. The drums compliment this, as the guitars fall around it in a cascading manner until the chorus kicks the song into overdrive, forcing you to raise your fist and scream “HEY!” with them. The solo section is next, as the guitars go nuts and the bass does the same. It’s brilliance- pure and simple.

I Think I See Evil is the best rock album I have heard all year. If you liked Rage Against The Machine, you will praise the ground Kervin walks on, because this is even stronger rock than RATM put out. If you like System of a Down, you’ll love this too- because the guitars are as crazy as SOAD’s- just in a different way. These ten* shots of vitriol are simply stunning in their scope and performance- there’s just no way that you can avoid Kervin. Scream with them, or scream at them, but you’ll be screaming soon.

-Stephen Carradini

*the instrumental track sucks.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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