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(43:21, Transubstans Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. House 5:15 2. September 3:59 3. Slither 5:37 4. Barn Burner 6:08 5. Sparkle 0:48 6. Amp251 4:51 7. The Riff 4:38 8. Shamrock City 4:24 9. Winter Garden 7:41 LINEUP: Chris Lee Smith – vocals Kenneth Braman – guitar Janne Lindgren – guitar Peter – drums Jam – bass
Prolusion. THE CHAIR is a band based in Sweden, consisting of four Swedish musicians and one vocalist from the US. Their self-titled debut album was released in June 2008 by Transubstans Records.
Analysis. Transubstans Records is a label that has specialized in releasing albums by artists exploring the sound of 70's rock in general and hard progressive rock in particular. It's no surprise that The Chair is yet another band that can be safely placed in this category of performers given the track record of their label, but the style of music explored on this album is to some degree different, though. This release contains a very basic form of 70's hard rock. There are few complexities in the compositional structure; instead a simplistic verse-chorus theme followed by guitar solo, etc. is the standard in these tunes. The riff patterns and melodies are pretty straightforward too, with only slight psychedelic leanings in some parts being the one element here that will appeal to the progressive rock public. The main influences musically seem to be Black Sabbath (at their simplest, like “Paranoid”) and Mountain, and the songs come across as a mix of these two implied idioms, with chugging slow riffs and drawn out chords mixed with more driving blues-based hard rock riffs and guitar solos creating a distinct 70's mood never sounding like either of the influences but containing elements of both. Vocalist Chris Lee Smith has a powerful voice sounding very similar to Ozzy Osbourne, even including the seemingly a-bit-out-of-tune style the frontman of the classic Black Sabbath line-up had and is famous for. The compositions are a mixed bag. The band is at their best exploring the mix described above, and creates quite a few powerful classic hard rock tunes that are likable when exploring this style. They do have a couple of songs venturing closer to the glam rock of Kiss here too though, and these songs aren't as interesting or as well made. Especially Shamrock City comes across as a weak creation, despite a catchy chorus (or, perhaps, just because of it). Ultimately this is a promising but slightly flawed release; the best songs are good but not great, while the weakest ones are cringeworthy, cliched and cheesy. There's some talent here, though, and if this outfit continues developing their strengths they could be an interesting band to follow in the future.
Conclusion. Classic, blues based 70's sounding hard rock is the name of the game here, and if basic music in this manner is to your liking you might want to check this band out. It is an uneven release, but should be worthwhile to get for fans of this particular style of music who want to listen to something new, as there aren't too many acts exploring this particular brand of 70's rock these days.
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