Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

PepperDome's experimental hard rock is unique but off-putting

February 13, 2010

PepperDome’s Let’s Try the Otherside is a blast of unrelenting social-activist hard rock that doesn’t really care what you think about it. PepperDome (which is John Tokarczyk on drums, guitar, bass and vocals) embraces everything that he has to offer: off-putting vocals, weird rhythms, odd melodies, and peculiar lyrical choices. It’s all pulled off with confidence, even when it makes me scratch my head.

The strange vocals are the hardest bit to wrap my head around. I nearly quit listening because I just don’t like the vocal tone at all. But the music, which incorporates elements of System of a Down, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and sludge-heavy rock bands, intrigued me enough to listen to it. It’s certainly a singular vision. There’s nothing like PepperDome happening that I know of.

This is a difficult release to listen to. It’s the result of a complete and singular vision; but that vision is so specific and pointed that it seems to exclude average listeners. I’d pass on this one unless you really like experimental hard rock (Primus, Tool, etc).

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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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