CD REVIEW: Rubikon-"The Hollow Men"
By Brian Rutherford - 01/19/2005 - 08:47 PM EST
Album: "The Hollow Men"
Stand up and take a bow Boston and your surrounding Massachusetts area. No, not because the Red Sawx finally won the World Series. No, not 'cause you’re football team (The Patriots) is simply superior to some of the greatest teams in history. Take a bow for the constant waves of talented musicians you’ve slowly given the rest of the world over the years. From Aerosmith to the Dropkick Murphys, and back again last decade with recent commercial successes like Staind and Godsmack, Beantown is growing metal like Idaho grows potatoes.
Peel your eyes open in the future for what may be considered yet another budding Boston artist, Rubikon. Chock full of hard edge, raw power and firm vocal efforts, their debut LP “ The Hollow Men” is the new mold to this day and age of metal, but it also manage's to branch out into its own identity. Shoveling together simplistic chords of melodic metal, acoustic nap time, and harmonics, songs like the lead track “Severence” blend the last 20 years of hard rock. Similar to Trust Kill recording artists Armsbendback, the chorus in Severence is that of bi-polar. At one moment you’re experiencing your average verse to bridge build-up, only to take a left turn rather quickly into the chorus. “SEV-ER-ANCE!!!, SEVERANCE!!!”
Though I believe I would be doing lead singer Jae an injustice by comparing his vocals to anyone, most listeners make an automatic distinction in regards to vocal comparisons. His lungs seem to own the similar capacity and tones of Aaron Lewis (Staind early days), Chad Kroeger (Nickelback), Lajon Witherspoon (Sevendust) and even Chris Cornell (Soundgarden/Audioslave) at times. Taking the ‘Get Drunk And Jam Out’ award will be track 12 “Acid Rain” for its enormously heated courage and aggressive ending.
Yea, yea…I heard you the first time. 'If they’re so good, why haven’t I heard about them already' The atmospheric truth of “The Hollow Men” is as blinding as it is blending of so many different commercial genre. Almost seemingly backfiring a bit are tracks like “TrapDoor” which spotlight repetitive bridge runs that would make Nu Metal act RA proud. While the title of track 10 “Monster” speaks for itself, for the first time on the disc, the independent recording rears its ugly face as the lead vocals play second fiddle to the arms length of the instruments.
Moving on from the cheap, unfortunate, but necessary artist charting, there is simply too much potential and raw energy here to ignore. While most tracks on this disc will sound like every fourth song from the good ole late nineteen hundred and nineties, during tracks like “A2”, these Bostonians manage to show just how much original flavor and contemporary energy they may be harboring. "1.6” is an easy twist of fate, almost like an intermission. Slow and barely alive, the tune creeps up like an attacking snake of misunderstood angst changing from a whisper to a scream. 'Blacked-out' is a phrase that consistently pops into my head while listening to this song, reminding me of an off topic Arclight Records (Austin, TX)The Book Of Knots."
Wild and out of control, this album is easily a keeper. As for its withstanding status amongst my collection, I will have to leave 'em in the top 200 pile. That’s where all artists who don’t reach with their full potential go. But be careful, if these guys should peel just a little deeper, I may be stuck eating the words of this review.
Rubikon can be reached at www.rubikonmusic.com.
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