By Bob Nalbandian

One Nation Under

What a concept! A major label actually signs a band with a vocalist...yes, I said a vocalist! Not a rapper...not a crooner...not a barker, a sampler, or a screamer! (I don't think Dr. Seus could have said it better himself, R.I.P.) Vocalist Jett actually knows how to sing. Who would have thought that a major label executive (especially from a label like Arista) in the year 2001 would have the foresight to sign such a band. And as much as I hate to give arrogant major label A&R dicks credit, (especially nowadays - where they feel the need to credit themselves at least ten times on a CD sleeve as if they've made some historic discovery) I feel that Joshua Surubin deserves props in this case for his truly "unique" vision.

Having never heard of this band before, I was expecting the same rap/sampled/techno/metal shit but was pleasantly surprised when I threw the disc into my player. This Chicago based quintet write, what I consider, great, modern-metal songs which definitely sets them apart from the typical nu-metal "Ozz-fest" lot.

Jett's vocals are very strong yet remarkably melodic, and with the help of guitarist Pete Capizzi and bassist Rob Likey providing back-up vox, the band produce brilliant harmonies and chorus's, but with a metallic edge, so it doesn't come across sounding sappy, poppy, corny....basically speaking, they don't sound like Bon Jovi.

The songs are also well-crafted with very catchy hooks. The musicianship is also first-rate, with guitarists Pettinato and Capizzi churning up smokin' leads and awesome rhythm riffs. David Bianco (Buck Cherry, Black Crows...) also deserves a pat on the bottom for a well-executed production with a thick "modern mix" (modern as in the bass and guitars mesh into one, yet it doesn't come across muddy and the vocals harmonies are precise and crystal clear.)

But what really makes vocalist Jett surprisingly unique is the fact that HE KNOWS HOW TO USE HIS VOICE EFFECTIVELY. Yes, he can, and does at times, sing with the same rage as rap/metal/grind-core bands such as Korn, Linkin Park, Powerman 5000 or Crowbar, but he does it appropriately and effectively. What I'm saying is, Jett doesn't feel the need to prove his manhood by constantly barking and rapping into the microphone like all these aggro-moronic so-called vocalists in today's metal scene.

The songs do get a bit repetitive toward the end of the disc, but the hooks are catchy enough to sustain the listener's interest. My fave tunes being "Smack," the first single "Check Ya," "Erase," and "Horrors." All in all, this is one of the best major label debut's I've heard since Tool's Opiate CD. This CD should appeal to fans of nu-metal and alt-metal as well as traditional and classic metal fans. Let's hope this trend continues.

Shockwaves CD Reviews Issue 4 Page 2