4th Floor - "Newton's Cradle" (CD)
"Newton's Cradle" track listing:
3. Darkness Carries
5. Only Dying
7. Newton's Cradle
8. High & Mighty
9. Just An Illusion
10. Holy Water
13. All I Need
14. Mirror Mirror
Reviewed by EdgeoftheWorld on March 9, 2011
Playing metal-edged hard rock in the mode of Disturbed and Drowning Pool, Wisconsin-based 4th Floor adds a nice dose of bluesy swagger on the band's sophomore album, "Newton's Cradle." The album's got a nice gritty feel to it that makes it easy to ignore the few moments when it veers into predictable territory.
Much of the credit for the band's sound has to go to lead guitarist Zach Hales, whose bluesy solos take heavier tracks like "Fade" and "Yesterday" in some unexpected directions. It's obvious that plenty of the band's musical cues come from guys like Dan Donegan and Zakk Wylde, but I definitely hear the influence of guys like Slash and Joe Perry in the solos.
Vocally, the band isn't afraid to delve into slightly less radio-friendly territory, with Ryan Wallis' clean vocals accompanied by some growling backing vocals on "Darkness Carries." Wallis, who also plays some guitar on the album, mostly gets the job done nicely, but he goes into ballad-by-the-numbers mode on "All I Need" and "Newton's Cradle."
The band's willingness to explore Aerosmith territory goes on full display on "Sleazy," which features female orgasmic moans, full-on blues riffs, trumpets and saxophone. The cherry on top is the way Hales trades licks with saxophonist John Greiner.
The album's production, by 4th Floor and Marty Cheyka, is top-notch, with a warm sound that gives heft to Mike Maney's drums and Tim Hales' bass. The way Tim Hales' bass rumbles underneath the rest of the instruments in "Lies" is particularly impressive.
An excellent album that adds a dash of the blues to the modern hard rock sound, 4th Floor's "Newton's Cradle" is an album that will hold plenty of appeal for fans of bands like Godsmack and Disturbed.
Highs: "Fade," "Sleazy" and "Darkness Carries"
Lows: The ballads, "Newton's Cradle" and "All I Need" are a little weak.
Bottom line: An excellent metal-tinged hard-rocker with some superb bluesy solos.
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