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AM Conspiracy - "AM Conspiracy" (CD)

AM Conspiracy - "AM Conspiracy" CD cover image

"AM Conspiracy" track listing:

1. Revolution
2. Welt
3. Pictures
4. Myself
5. Far Away
6. Down
7. Right On Time
8. Far
9. Absence
10. Dead & Gone
11. Believe
12. The Gathering
13. Learn To Learn
14. Hidden Track

Reviewed by on January 11, 2010

"The band has conspired to create a disc that contains radio-ready balladry alongside brutal numbers to keep the pit moving without compromising the quality of either."

Ex-Drowning Pool singer Jason "Gong" Jones is back with a new band, as well as a darker sound and a harder edge, with the self-titled debut from AM Conspiracy. Jones and his bandmates have obviously conspired to create an album full of hooky tunes that straddle the hard rock/metal divide in a way guaranteed to earn radio raves and praise in the pit.

Things start off well with "Revolution," featuring gut-punch guitars from Rob DeHaven and Drew Burke and a fist-pumping chorus. What really makes this one likely to be a mosh pit favorite though is Dean Andrews' drumming, which adds a Rob Zombie-esque sense of groove that almost makes you want to dance.

"Welt" is a radio-rocker of the best sort. It's melodic without losing its heaviness, and demonstrates Jones' ability to alternate between growls and melodic vocals. On the other hand, the ballad-ish "Pictures" strays a little too far into radio-friendly territory, losing some energy in doing so.

"Myself" finds the band experimenting with a sound reminiscent of Stone Temple Pilots — with a little Phil Anselmo-style shouting thrown in for good effect. The solo near the end is spectacular. "Far Away" and "Down" both slow things down again, with "Down" having the superior chorus. On the other hand, the acoustic part that begins "Far Away" has a nice Led Zeppelin feel to it.

The next four songs, "Right On Time," "Far," "Absence," and "Dead & Gone," are all well-played, but they're also basically variations on earlier themes. By the time you get to them, you'll be anxious for anything that hits as hard as "Revolution" and "Welt." You'd better believe "Believe" does just that. Starting with a great drum intro, the song kicks into gear with a roar, and features a superb sing along chorus. It's also got Kenny Harrelson's best bass playing.

The last "official" track, "Learn To Learn," is the heaviest on the album, reminding me of something from Pantera's "Vulgar Display Of Power" heyday. It's got the best guitar solo on the album and attitude-laden lyrics that will make you want to go pick a fight with the biggest guy in the bar.

"Learn To Learn" should've been the final track on the album, as a hidden 14th track is just a slow, clean electric slog that, though it highlights Jones' vocals well, should've been left off. Actually, the album would've been improved greatly by cutting down the length by a song or two. Though in the promotional materials, Drew says they didn't want "13 versions of the same song," the band does repeat itself a bit, with tracks like "Right On Time" and "Far" feeling a bit redundant.

Still, it's hard to knock a band that successfully keeps as many plates in the air as AM Conspiracy does on this mostly excellent full-length debut. The band has conspired to create a disc that contains radio-ready balladry alongside brutal numbers to keep the pit moving without compromising the quality of either. The disc hits stores Jan. 12, and the band hits the road for a tour of the U.S. Midwest on the 16th.

Highs: "Revolution," "Welt," and "Learn To Learn."

Lows: The disc is a shade too long, with a few redundant tracks like "Right On Time."

Bottom line: An excellent full-length debut that Drowning Pool fans and metal fans in general will enjoy.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)