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Crooked X - "Crooked X" (CD)

Crooked X - "Crooked X" CD cover image

"Crooked X" track listing:

1. Gone (4:27)
2. Adrenaline (2:46)
3. Time Is Now (4:09)
4. Rock n Roll Dream (3:25)
5. Fade (4:21)
6. You Gotta Bleed (3:04)
7. Nail In The Coffin (4:34)
8. Nightmare (3:47)
9. Death Of Me (3:32)
10. Lost Control (3:09)

Reviewed by on February 20, 2009

"As long as their overnight media mayhem doesn’t cause this young band to crash and burn before their time, Crooked X should expect a long and successful career in the hard rock community."

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple months, you undoubtedly have heard of Oklahoma’s latest music sensation, Crooked X. They are the newest addition to the boy band genre; though the fact that they are all only fifteen is about the only thing these young men have in common with most boy bands. Sure, vocalist and guitarist Forrest French has the long golden locks and swaggering stance that make pre-teen girls lightheaded, but Crooked X is hoping that the quality of their music will launch them past the dregs of poppy, mainstream media hype.

The band members say they don’t want people to think “they’re really good for their age,” but now that the cat is out of the bag, it’s hard not to find yourself thinking this way. Still, regardless of their age, their music shows a talent that surpasses many of their peers, and can stand on its own against most of the twenty-something hard rock acts currently on the scene.

Though the intro of the first song on the album, “Gone,” takes a page straight out of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” the rest of the album is completely original, even though it is easy to pick out influences like Zeppelin, Motley Crue, and Metallica. The compositions throughout the album are surprisingly complex, with combinations of sleaze, glam, classic metal, and hard rock. There are occasional moments where syncopation is slightly off, as in “Rock n Roll Dream,” and at times the drumbeat seems a little forced. But the solid, mature vocals and at times even dueling guitars make up for any minor deficiencies.

“You Gotta Bleed” and “Nail In The Coffin” are back to back tracks that may be lighter on lyrics, but get your body moving. They both have just enough edge to make them fun, addictive tunes, and the quality guitar shred on “Nail In The Coffin” helps it skate the line between metal and hard rock. The most hardcore song on the album is “Nightmare,” a throwback to Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” days. Many people have already heard this tune thanks to Rock Band and YouTube, but the delivery on the album is much cleaner and robust.

Perhaps the best track is “Fade,” which is notably lighter than the other songs, and yet possesses a lyrical depth that is surprising for their age. It’s a soulful tune that can’t really be called a ballad, but holds the same sort of emotion and depth of most great monster ballads. There’s also plenty of Sunset Strip sound, most noticeably on “Rock n Roll Dream,” and the final track, “Lost Control,” which has a very strong Motley Crue “Dr. Feelgood” era sound to it.

Crooked X has every right to be proud of their debut, and deserves all the fame they have received, regardless of their age. Their music, though not something a lot of diehard metal fans will like, fits well within the genre that embraced Buckcherry. Glam metal fans and classic rock fans will probably also find something to like about Crooked X. As long as their overnight media mayhem doesn’t cause this young band to crash and burn before their time, Crooked X should expect a long and successful career in the hard rock community.

Highs: Dueling guitars in “Nail In The Coffin” display the band’s talent, while the lyrics in “Fade” demonstrate their maturity.

Lows: Brief moments where syncopation is slightly off and forced.

Bottom line: This is a great debut, and a really good hard rock album.

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)