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(26:42 CD-R, ‘Chest Rockwell’)
CHEST ROCKWELL hails from the American state of Kentucky. Released at the tail end of 2011, the 26-minute EP “Laugh the World Laughs with You” is the band’s fourth release to date, following "Total Victory", “Chest Rockwell vs. the World” and “Back to Square One”, all of which are full-length albums. At least overall, the recording indicates that the musicians are still faithful to their original style, balancing between Alternative Rock and a heavier and, at the same time, more complex/advanced music on four of its five tracks. To be more precise, on two of those there is more of a prog-metal sound with wall of heavy riffage and a driving rhythm-section, and vice versa on the other two: a bit like Voivod circa 1993 meets Tool and Radiohead respectively, albeit the energy is nervous in all cases. In the first two cases, most of the music is based on excellent guitar riffs, and although not all of them are distorted, it often seems that the compositions work a lot like classic Prog-Metal, with softer segments and changes in mood as well. At one point, I was reminded of ‘80s King Crimson, though. On the remaining track the music is dark, heavy and intense, with no atmospheric sections used, at first developing as Metallica -style Thrash, but then transforming into a sort of cosmic Techno Metal – in the vein of Voivod, of course, once again. The vocals are good, too. What also makes them sound attractive is that they never have, say, a layered quality to them (let alone so-called hooks), as there are neither overdubbed nor backing vocals here. Back to the pieces that the alt-rock structures dominate on: odd time signatures and extended instrumental sections provide common ground for the prog-metal fan, albeit the lack of glaring changes in theme and pace may leave some listeners cold. On the other hand, both of them might help the uninitiated find out about and move into more weird terrain. One way or another, the musicianship is excellent throughout the record. Fans of Prog-Metal with a higher degree of accessibility, at least those who are tolerant toward low-budget productions, will find lots to like on this CD-R.
Vitaly Menshikov: September 17, 2012
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