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Singleside - "Moving Forward" (CD)

Singleside - "Moving Forward" CD cover image

"Moving Forward" track listing:

1. Disconnect
2. Carry On
3. Believe
4. Moving Forward
5. Something To Save
6. What's It Gonna Be
7. Never Again
8. Grave Digger

Reviewed by on April 24, 2014

"Enough catchy choruses to start a vigorous singalong and just enough metal to earn some righteous horns."

The best way to appreciate being a metal fan is to be a rock fan first. That’s an axiom easily neglected these days, and getting back to basics is a regular necessity for any fan, not to mention anyone seriously interested in writing and playing music. Hailing from Madison Heights, Virginia, Singleside delivers those basics with passion and style.

“Moving Forward” is the consummate hard rock record in the classic, most honorable sense of the term. It balances radio friendliness with a grassroots Southern flair and a gritty edge. It's accessible and clean enough for general audiences, but just sonically dangerous enough to sneak in some solid punches. Hard enough for headbanging, but won’t get you so riled you’ll spill your bourbon. It lingers right on that sweet spot.

Thick, sometimes sludgy rhythm guitar tones, specially on opener “Disconnect,” anchor Singleside’s sound, and plenty of lead guitar heroics - solos that really SING - are present on every track. What really makes everything click, though, is the band’s creative nucleus, the Cash sisters Anna (vocals) and Candace (bass, backing vocals). Their harmonized choruses are instantly memorable (check out “Something To Save”), and the former’s lead pipes manage maximum volume without any forced aggression or simpering girly-girlness.

This formula remains strong throughout the album’s brisk eight tracks, and while there’s no filler here, “Moving Forward” – and Singleside’s already formidable hard rock style – could benefit from a burst of punkish speed every now and then. The dynamics between balladry (“Believe,” “Never Again”), ballsy heaviness (see the slick motor revving of “Carry On” and the bone-crushing bridge on “What’s It Gonna Be?”), and everything between are handled fluidly, but overall it’s a mid-paced affair that could use a few higher peaks and lower valleys.

Regardless, as it stands, “Moving Forward” is a fine piece of work: basic melodic hard rock whose understated virtuosity shines through a humble prism; with enough catchy choruses to start a vigorous singalong and just enough metal to earn some righteous horns.

Highs: "Carry On" and "Believe."

Lows: The mostly medium pacing could use a couple speedier moments to match the slower ballads.

Bottom line: Solid melodic hard rock with memorable songs for a general audience - including even metal fans.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

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)