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Various-On the Verge: Alberta's Best Rock

on-the-verge-coverBand Name: Various
Album Name: On the Verge: Alberta’s Best Rock
Best Element: The realization that there are some non-sucky modern rock bands.
Genre: Modern Rock
Label Name: Cyclone Records
Band E-mail: info’

So I will admit it- when a good modern rock song comes on the radio, I listen to it. I know, I know- I just lost a whole lot of credibility in a lot of people’s eyes, but whatever. There are good songs in every genre- even the most bloated ones in the world (and that crown [i]would[/i] go to modern rock).

Yes, this is a modern rock comp. And I did approach it with caution- even saying the words “modern rock” in a group of music snobs will cause near-seizures- but I think that it is ignorance to dismiss an entire genre en masse. So I gave this album a fair shot, just like any other album we review. And I was surprised at the selection on this album.

Yes, there were a few bands that bore a gut-wrenching resemblance to Nickelback and co., but besides those few unpleasant entries (about a quarter of the album’s 20 tracks), there’s actually a lot of good songwriting on this album. Gunther’s “Wrecking Ball” is a completely instrumental piece with a lot of heavy guitar/harmonics interaction, and it was really quite impressive. They also experimented with dynamics throughout, which is unusual for a modern rock band. I wouldn’t mind hearing more of Gunther’s guitar heroics, just as I wouldn’t mind hearing more of Hollow House.

Hollow House’s contribution was definitely the heaviest of the bunch, bordering on Deftones-style distortion to propel their eerie highlight track “Seeing Through Sepia.”

Winter’s Longing offers up two very pleasing tracks, taking a more upbeat, punkish approach to their rock. Six Pack Jacket’s “Eldorado Kid” is an excellently executed blast of old-school surf punk, while both of Creature Republic’s offerings were ear-catching, if not exactly groundbreaking. The female vocals there redeemed them, as the vocalist managed to not sound like Amy Lee of Evanescence.

So it just goes to show that there is good in every genre- you just have to be a little more open-minded to get your head around it. Now I won’t be defending 3 Doors Down anytime soon, mind you- but I do like what Cyclone Records has done with On the Verge.

-Stephen Carradini