What’s going on this week…..

As usual, I’m way behind listening to CDs. Right now I have a pile of 40 CDs that are either new releases I bought or albums I’ve received from bands/labels to review. There’s a lot of different styles and a ton of new music so things are going to get very review intensive around here.

The reviews that are definite this week are the latest from Engel, Shannon, Anvil, Swashbuckle, Tyr, and the Gigantour 2 DVD. I was supposed to have these last week but it’s safe to say I’ll never catch up!

The reviews I’m going to TRY to fit in are the new MSG, new Dokken, & the upcoming Kataklysm and W.A.S.P.’s DOMINATOR. Not sure if that WASP record will get in, I’m still listening to it.

An ambitious week for sure…..wait and see what happens!

I’m working on a couple of things to be posted later in the year:

  1. I’ve already started compiling my Top Albums of 2008. It’s never too late to start and I’ve been good at keeping up with major releases so this year’s list should be a Top 25 at least.
  2. I started a list of 2007 albums I missed and would have made the Top 15 or an expanded list.
  3. I have a list going of releases I haven’t picked up yet this year and why.

DC4 – Explode (2007)

DC4 – Explode (2007, independent release)

  1. Explode
  2. Rock And Roll Disease
  3. Experiment
  4. God Complex
  5. Cabin Fever
  6. This Is What You Wanted
  7. Candy Cane
  8. Long Hard Road To Lost
  9. Disturbed
  10. Hate Parade

Band Lineup:
Jeff Duncan – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Shawn Duncan – Drums
Matt Duncan – Bass & Backing Vocals
Rowan Robertson – Guitars

Producer: Joey Vera

Total Time = 42:04

DC4 MySpace page

I first heard about DC4 when I saw the news that Odin released a new E.P., Odin being the band that Jeff Duncan (Armored Saint) & Shawn Duncan famously played in on the Sunset Strip in the ’80s. Much to my surprise, the Duncan brothers recruited a third brother (Matt) for Bass duties and former Dio lead guitarist Rowan Robertson. I used to play LOCK UP THE WOLVES constantly way back when and the hype was huge that a then 18 yr. old guitarist would handle a Metal legend’s guitar slot. With that lineup, the band and album just had to be good.

Basically what we have here on EXPLODE is Hard Rock, the emphasis on “hard”. The guitar work is tremendous with both guitarists trading licks and solos and the rhythm section is tight, the comfort level there because they guys are brothers and know each other’s playing well. What I find very interesting is Jeff Duncan’s vocals, they sound similar to Jeff’s bandmate John Bush from Armored Saint. This gritty style fits the music well because the whole album is based on heavy, driving guitars.

The title track and ‘Rock And Roll Disease’ kick the album off with a Hard Rock bang that immeadiately showcases what DC4 is about: heavy Rock bordering on Metal. Both songs feature driving guitar patterns and solos that set the tone for the entire album. ‘Experiment’ is a little different, the song has a hook at the chorus that leans more towards the more modern style but the song as a whole still retains that old school Hard Rock vibe. I also like the big drum sound on ‘Experiment’, it really drives the song.

‘God Complex’ and ‘Cabin Fever’ continue the heavy pace while ‘This Is What You Wanted’ slows down to a mid-pace groove and is a welcome change. The first five songs hit you right over the head with their heaviness and, even though the guitars are still heavy, the song’s pace is slower and lends some variety to what was becoming a one-dimensional, albeit good, album. ‘This Is What You Wanted’ reminds me of a heavier Nickelback but better (I can’t stand Nickel back!). ‘Candy Caine’ returns us back to the straight forward Hard Rock approach but, even though it’s good music, I’m looking for something different because the songs are starting to sound the same.

There are some interesting guitar patterns of ‘Long Hard Road To Lost’ and there seems to be a little more groove than other songs on the record. Same with ‘Disturbed’, there is a different tone to the opening guitar with the vocal right up front and in focus, but the song moves back into line with the other rockers. ‘Hate Parade’ is another mid-paced song that is a welcome listen among all the fast rockers. There’s a cool acoustic guitar that starts the song with the vocal and remains throughout the song. It almost reminds me a little bit of Union with Bruce Kulick and John Corabi.

Bottom Line:
DC4 play straight forward heavy Hard Rock and almost every song on EXPLODE is just that…..straight forward heavy Hard Rock. Now there’s nothing wrong with that because good Hard Rock can be hard to find sometimes. The problem is that the songs start to sound too similar, the album gets more interesting when the band begins to stretch their wings and do some different things like on ‘Hate Parade’ or ‘This Is What You Wanted’. That said, I liked the album and it has received a lot of time on my stereo because the musicianship is top notch and the guitars are especially good. The band isn’t re-inventing the wheel with this album but they are keeping the car driving fast.

Favorite Songs: ‘Experiment’, ‘God Complex’, ‘Hate Parade’, ‘This Is What You Wanted’, ‘Explode’