It’s about time we got an album out of Electric Red. Their demos under the Involution name were always worthy, and the short three tracker from last year (or earlier this one? can’t remember) was cool.
More than their recorded work, they’ve always delivered live. I’ve never known them not to, through a fistful of gigs. They knew about tone from early on, and their tightness has made them sound good almost by default.
I’ve waxed lyrical about their rekindling of proper ’90s metal before, so I wont do it again. Mostly because they’ve begun adding genuinely new elements to the mix.
Let’s quickly establish that opener ‘In This Machine’ swigs VERY liberally from Mastodon. The double tracked bellow vocal, the excellent slipped rhythm that’s characteristic of the Atlantan’s clever push – it is however a worthy imitator.
Rather than a quick and slightly cheap comparison, what’s going on under the surface of this track shows what Electric Red have to offer on their own terms. Great bass, in this instance – not something you’d necessarily notice either on early listens or without headphones.
Elsewhere, a nice floaty, watery echo is present on the few guitar embellishments and solos that there are. It adds mood, while the late solo on ‘Swimming Fool’ is impressive without being flamboyant. Correct for the style.
‘Threads’ has a walloping drum and jiggle midsection that’s all 70’s Thin Lizzy before returning into multi-vocal Oceansize atmos-rock. A common theme throughout.
‘Daggers’ has a bit of the now common Tool worship going on with the clean guitars and tom workout, but the follow on rocker ‘Isolational’ gets heavier for some thick Therapy? / Helmet / Soundgarden crunch and chorus.
I didn’t quite think a lot of this album worked on first listens. It’s a definitive grower however, and blooms into a reliable spin.
Further than that, it makes better sense in a whole sitting than trying to pick out individual tracks. Live it will all be most rewarding.
There’s a few things they could still be crafting. One or two vocals here and there remain a little out, and like its demo version, I just don’t know if the rhythm change on ‘Threads’ works all that well. Then again, that’s made up for by a killer hook.
They’re a band that’s the very definition of workhorse act. Satisfying on record, great live, and a super example of contemporary rock/metal.
Dare we even say grunge? I’m cool with it if you are, ‘specially when it’s as solid as this.
3.6 / 5 – Early Grey ::: 01/08/10