Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Rock is a Good, Good Thing

February 12, 2009

There are bands out there with a hint of retro in their sound, and there are tribute bands that try to copy another era’s groups. Somewhere in between is Underride. They’ve got a sound that is firmly based in ’80s metal, but also incorporates flirtation with glam rock of the same decade and occasional touches of ’90s grunge. It’s impossible to listen to their music without drawing similarities to the likes of Aerosmith or Guns-n-Roses.

The album opens with “Side By Side,” an energetic, driving number that lies on the harder side of their music. It quickly highlights the vocal strengths of the band with a roaring chorus from frontman Rev and smooth backups from the rest of the group. A wicked guitar solo seals the deal for this track.

Further into the album, the song “My Little Hell” stands out. Lyrics like “lower your body down/below the surface ground” and other dark references give it great character without devolving into death metal. “Riot Stick” was my favorite from the album. It’s that raucous, no-holds-barred kind of song that gets you out of your seat and rocking away with the music. Getting the listener involved is a great test for music, and Underride passed with flying colors.

One Of Us by Underride is rock, pure and simple. I had a blast listening to this album on a recent road trip. It isn’t what typically goes on my iPod, but change is a good thing, right? Is their particular brand of rock your cup of tea? Check them out and see for yourself.

Underride-Insanity Land

January 1, 2007

underrideBand Name: Underride
Album Name: Insanity Land
Best Element: Mixing up the sounds, rocking beats

Genre: Rock/Rock/Rock

Website: www.underride.net
Label Name: N/a
Band E-mail: spanky@underride.net

Strap yourself in and prepare for the ride that is Underride. Right from the get-go of their latest offering Insanity Land these Seattle rockers let you know they mean business.

With a high pitched wail “Telephone” sends the listener careening into a head banging trip that slows a bit for vocalist Rev to introduce himself to the world. After a chill verse the band picks it up into an adrenaline-adding pre-chorus before exploding into a loud, crunchy, ballsy, chorus. Trust me, this song is rancid of the 1980s arena rock. Rev leads his cronies through another verse and chorus before allowing the dueling axe-men Rex Nomad and Dr. Pondscum to melt off the faces of the audience in a raging solo. The tune fires off another chorus before ending in a reverb-packed fix of guitar riffs. Drummer Jesse James and bassist El Barto keep the tempo flaring in “Fremont Street.” Rev continues his unique set of pipes while the guitars interrupt from time to time with low screeching notes. A double time chorus adds even more effect to the song before James and El Barto launch into a mellower rotation of grooving.

“Violate Night” is easily the best song on the album. Rev kicks his power vocals into gear, singing gruffer and lower than in any of the other songs, but it works, and works well. The sound echoes today’s superstars Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown, and other modern rockers, and also makes you wonder just why in the world Underride isn’t signed yet. Raunchy guitars, varied rhythms, confident solos, and Rev singing like he has a pair all combine to make a seriously kick ass tune. I literally put this song on repeat and head banged for two hours straight the first time I heard this song.

Underride tosses in homage to rock ballads with “Save Me from Myself,” the slowest tune on the album. The rock is eased back, the feeling is melancholy, but these guys manage to keep your toe tapping. An epic and wah-aided solo carries this song to a peaceful middle where Rev vocalizes with the music in serenity. The rock returns with “Issues,” the final track on the EP. Pondscum and Nomad riff it up before James and El Barto set the tempo. The high-powered vocals and catchy melody in this song make is a solid ender and one of the better tunes on the album.

After cruising through this almost eighteen-minute adrenaline rush, there is absolutely no reason why you won’t immediately want to listen to it again. You will crave Insanity Land like a cocaine addict craves his fix. In a world where most teenage and college-aged bands are spewing out the same blend of indie and emo, it’s refreshing to see some guys with vision and the courage to bring back arena rock.

-Erik Williams

endlesscreed@charter.net

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

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