Saturday, February 4, 2012

     I've recently been given the rare opportunity by Jimmie Jones of Eroded Pride to review their latest album, "Surviving Reno: The Biggest Little Headache". Previously, I'd reviewed Eroded Pride & their tunepak on Reverbnation. Jimmie apparently appreciated the blog, and gave me an in-depth overview of the latest album, why & what was going down inside the act, and the feelings translated into music.

    The picture for the album is a picture of the Reno strip. Although I've been to Nevada, I've never been to Reno or Las Vegas. I've only been to the desert in Nevada, and seemed unremarkable. I'm certain this is not to represent the state as whole. I know the music scene is hot in Nevada, as many top-notch acts stop in Nevada, or relocate themselves to Nevada. I'm sure this is because of Las Vegas, and the multitudes of people from all over the world that arrive daily. I think Eroded Pride is likely in the best place for success, other than New York, Los Angeles, or Miami.

     The opening tune, "AYR", is an anthem-like tune, powerful and head strong. "Are You Ready" is the chorus, and it comes off as a great opener for the beginning of an album. It brings the listener in, revs up the engine, and power-brakes the accelerator for the beginning of a terror-driven ride. A little short, but many opener songs do this to you, because it leaves the listener wanting more. This works very effectively for "AYR".

     "Blackened World" comes right in to follow suit, with strong guitar and keys to match. Jimmie's lyrics in the forefront, and sampling in the background, the synthesizer rolls through like an insect circling around your head. Metal fans will appreciate this song, as it leaves the industrial-edge in the background, and demonstrates their ability to "be metal".

     "Breath of the Dying" opens with some sampling, a "see you in hell" twist. The synth and drums are the most effective here. The sampling and panning effects are also an effective twinge, I enjoy the placements and arrangement of the sampling.

     The following song, "Cocoon of Dementia", drops down the speed of the BPM, but remains strong. Cowbell, either real or electronic, is used. We all know how we feel about cowbell. More Cowbell! The song is a bit more of a psychedelic head trip than previous tunes before, but remains in synch with the album. I enjoyed the cliche use of the radio dial. Radio dials have been used quite a bit over the years in all genres, but here it remains effective.

     "Contradict", bounces with the rock-n-roll flow, and from rumors, is the most popular song. This tune also holds the metal twinge in the foreground, making it another statement and testament to their love of the heaviness that metalheads worldwide have come to enjoy.

     The next tune, "Early Warning", is a powerful jam. So far, this is the tune that carries the album to it's full potential. It's a perfect mix of industrial & metal, equipped with sampling, a small, yet strong bass line, and powerful guitar.

     "The Grave I Made" turns the album deeper to the darkside. Like a zombie rising from the earth, it comes from below to strike when you are unexpecting. Electronic bells are used, and signifies a funeral-esque feeling. The song is quite compelling, and in my personal opinion, should be used as an E.P.

     "Sell Me a Lie" comes right back at you, with a powerful guitar attack, and electrifying lyrics. With a couple of tricks up the sleeve, it circles like a merry-go-round of butcher-knives. Once you try & get on, you're dismembered.

     "Slave Driver" opens with a sample, "I am a Slave". I think most of us 99% can identify with that feeling, and likely could be used at any protest. I especially enjoyed the drum track for this tune, & the bass lines are just as powerful.

     I awaited the song, "Trancending Lunacy". With such an effective and powerful title, I anticipated what this tune was going to deliver. Impressive! I was surprised at the downshift, however enlightened at the change-ups. The synth is especially grand here, and the movements flow with excessive fluidity. The sampling fades in and out perfectly.

     A soft opening for the tune, "Whatcha Need", but do not be fooled. This section of the album evolves into another dimension, (or is it demention?) demonstrating Eroded Pride's ability to move & shift with upbeat, downbeat, and melodic tendencies. This song proves their ability and talent as an industrial act, and shows the passion Eroded Pride carries forth.

     The closing song, "Whatever", is a clever follow-up/close-out for the album. It's a bit slowed than the pace of the rest of the album, but it's no different or out of synchronicity with the feel of the album. The song tends to "flip the bird" to music & radio industry, and hell, shouldn't we? This tune is another anthem-like jam, and works efficiently to sum up the album as a whole. Whatever.

     In summary, the album is excellent. I think it matches and possibly upscores acts such as "Kevorkian Death Cycle", and is competitive to "Combichrist". However, with critical analysis, I'd like to hear a bit more changes to the vocals, or a more colorful array of effects on the vocals. As the album progresses, the listener may lose interest if one does not or cannot appreciate the genre, or find the vocals either more cleverly defined, or, altered in such a way that sounds unique or mind-manifesting. If I were to produce this album, I'd change nothing on any of the music tracks. I'd likely work the midnight oil to make each song's vocal track more gripping than the last. In no way am I dogging Jimmie here. Metal/industrial is a difficult genre, and I fully support what Eroded Pride is doing here. All in all, I'd buy this album. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.