"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Anew Revolution - "iMerica" (CD)

Anew Revolution - "iMerica" CD cover image

"iMerica" track listing:

1. Broken Bones
2. Grey
3. Head Against The Wall
4. Social Suicide
5. Crucify
6. Brick By Brick
7. Ashes From Stone
8. Take Me Over
9. My Sacrifice
10. Killing Me
11. Life

Reviewed by on June 25, 2010

"With 'iMerica,' Anew Revolution hasn't exactly revolutionized hard rock, but the band has created a damn fine variation on the form."

What do you get when you combine a couple ex-Slaves on Dope with an Unloco singer and guitarist? A pretty damn good record, in the case of Anew Revolution's "iMerica."

Anew Revolution was formed in the wake of Slaves on Dope's dissolution, with bassist Frank Salvaggio and drummer Robert Urbani hooking up with singer/guitarist Joey Duenas from Unloco, whom they'd previously toured with. It's mostly a match made in hard rock heaven, with a sound that's just a bit heavier, groovier and better than most of the rock on the radio these days.

Things get off to a slamming start with "Broken Bones," which heads into thrash territory before settling into a groovy near-punk riff for the verses. The vocals are a combination of clean and growly shouts, with Duenas shouting an immortal lyric about throwing "my middle finger to the sky." The solo from Shaun Stockton is the icing on a delicious metal cake.

"Grey" and the single, "Head Against The Wall" continue the heavy vibe, with "Head" having a particularly great shout-along chorus and excellent balance of fast and slow parts. Those tracks are followed up by the slower march tempo of "Social Suicide," which has an appealing pop sheen.

Salvaggio's bass takes center stage in the opening of the slow, grinding "Crucify." A great lead guitar break aside, the song doesn't go anywhere all that interesting after the intro.

"Brick By Brick" and "Ashes From Stone" bring the electricity back, with "Ashes" boasting some particularly brutal vocals, while "Brick" has a more melodic approach. Then, we go into full-on ballad mode with "Take Me Over," which features female vocalist Carlicia Conner and orchestral sounds. Conner adds some interest to the track, but it has a 1990s movie soundtrack feel that doesn't really do much for me.

Luckily, the band does a 180 and heads back into aggressive rock with "My Sacrifice," which shows off Urbani's drumming, and "Killing Me," a great mid-tempo number. "Killing Me," regrettably, has some cliched lyrics about how a lover that scorned the narrator is responsible for his suicide.

"Life" closes out the album in style, starting with an aggressive riff and a blend of clean and shouted vocals. One last bit of lead guitar fury near the end is quite welcome, indeed.

Production-wise, the album works well, though maybe just a hint more bass would've evened things out a bit. The guitars, drums and vocals are mixed in just the right proportion, with each element distinctly audible.

On the down side, I will say that there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about the album. It's 21st century hard rock with a metal edge, a la Drowning Pool. It works mostly because the band has honed its chops and hooks, rather than based on any originality in the songwriting.

With "iMerica," Anew Revolution hasn't exactly revolutionized hard rock, but the band has created a damn fine variation on the form. It's 42 minutes of good hooks and grooves, and that's more important than innovation in my book.

Highs: "Broken Bones," "Grey," "Social Suicide" and "Life"

Lows: The slower "Crucify" and "Take Me Over."

Bottom line: A more-than-decent hard rock album with definite metal edges.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)