Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007)

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007, Godlyke)

  1. Anyone Else
  2. Say Whatcha Mean
  3. Middle Of The Road
  4. Karmakaze
  5. Take Aim
  6. Thank You
  7. Invisible Slaves
  8. Be Here Now
  9. Hear Me
  10. We Don’t Need It
  11. Yeah Yeah Yeah
  12. Eye Of The Jedi

Band Lineup:
Elaine Tuttle – Lead Vocals
Pat Piegari – Guitar
Kevin Bolembach – Bass
Ross Kantor – Drums*
Courtney Williams – Drums

*(currently in band, did not play on album)

Producer: Alan Evans

Total Time = 52:18

Infernophonic MySpace page
Godlyke Distributing, Inc.

Infernophonic was formed in 2006 by former Non-Fiction bassist Kevin Bolembach. After recruiting Elaine Tuttle (vocals), Pat Piegari (guitar), and Ross Kantor (drums) from the talent-rich New Jersey Rock scene, Infernophonic began writing and recording this debut album while perfecting their live performance. Infernophonic came to my attention a couple of months ago when I stumbled upon their MySpace page and ‘Eye Of The Jedi’ started playing on their MySpace player. I was impressed right away with the energetic vocals of Tuttle and the funky Hard Rock style the band had going, ‘Jedi’ almost sounding like a Rage Against The Machine song. Now I’m not a big fan of Rage Against The Machine but the “big” sound the band has, along with the Star Wars reference in the title, really caught my attention.

The music isn’t Heavy Metal, more like ’70s style Hard Rock with a little bit of Funk mixed in. Piegari has this heavy, sometimes distorted, guitar sound that blends the best of Joe Perry and Tony Iommi with Tom Morello. There is a thick groovy crunch to the riffs and the soloing is pure and melodic, channelling the best of the ’70s guitar masters with the hybrid styles of today’s guitar heroes. Bolembach and Kantor are a formidable rhythm section with a thumping funky bass that compliments the guitars and a powerful hard drum sound that isn’t overdone, just played well. You can hear some influences from Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Glenn Hughes & Roger Glover (Deep Purple), and definitely Les Claypool (Primus) in Kevin’s bass playing, that’s a really cool mixture. The Flea and Claypool comparisons are easy to decipher but, being a serious Purple fan, I could also hear that funky Hughes and/or Glover bass from the ’70s. (Both Purple bassists are completely under-rated, especially Glenn Hughes, who is usually recognized more for his gifted singing voice than his bass playing.) Ross Kantor plays his kit within the context of the song. He has a strong beat but he doesn’t overplay or overpower the other musicians, he plays in the pocket and supports the rhythm. A lot of drummers today try to dazzle with how fast they can hit the skins but Kantor opts for more groove with his power. As I mentioned, Elaine Tuttle is very impressive on the mic, she has this really powerful, energetic voice that reminds me of Heart’s Ann Wilson. The difference between Tuttle and many of her peers is that she is a pure Rock singer, she’s not operatic or atmospheric, she just sings with power in her voice and also retains the melody.

The album kicks off aggressively with ‘Anyone Else’, the band immeadiately proving that they are Hard Rock with some quick riffs and an high powered rhythm. Tuttle completely attacks the mic and the guitar solo is very good. A quick drum flurry opens ‘Say Whatcha Mean’, one of my favorites on the album. The band goes for a simpler main riff and a catchier, repetitive chorus while the bass and drums really drive the song. There’s a small breakdown just before the solo that quickly sounds a little Purple-ish with what sounds like a Hammond organ but could be the bass? ‘Middle Of The Road’ continues the aggressive hard tone set by the first two songs but ‘Karmakaze’ finds a mid-pace grind that Tuttle exploits vocally to the point she’s blowing out of the speakers!

Things pick up speed again with ‘Take Aim’ but it’s more of a funky, dare I say almost danceable, type of song. There’s a really cool groove to the song that makes it ready for Rock radio, very accessible and fun. When the guitar solo hits I noticed a little Eddie Van Halen influence in there. I would put ‘Thank You’ and ‘Karmakaze’ in the same boat as far as they are both mid-paced and have a powerful vocal but there is this spacey guitar effect and the cool bass line on the slowed down chorus that really accentuates the beauty of Elaine’s voice. The funkiest song has to be ‘Invisible Slaves’ because of the bass, I can just picture Bolembach’s fingers running up and down like Flea or Les Claypool. ‘Be Here Now’ has a ’70s Classic Rock feel with subdued guitar tones that sound like an organ/keyboard while there is another Funk feel to ‘Hear Me’ similar to ‘Invisible Slaves’ except that the pace is slower, there also sounds like another Rage Against The Machine influence in the guitar playing. The pace speeds up with ‘We Don’t Need It’ for more a more straight up Hard Rock style with Tuttle using her more aggressive vocal style and Piegari using a cleaner edge to his soloing. There is a really cool bass and drum sound on ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ and the vocals have this dark edgy aspect but the chorus is a little too simple making it a disappointment but ‘Eye Of The Jedi’ ends things on a high note with it’s Rage Against The Machine style along with a little bit of Rap. I’m definitely not a fan of Rap but for some reason it works for me on ‘Jedi’.

Bottom Line:
Infernophonic is one of those bands that has the potential to reach out to a good cross-section of Music fans: Hard Rock, Modern Rock, and even Pop fans can find something to like on SPARK IT UP. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear many of the songs on this album on today’s Rock radio. The musicianship is top notch, each member playing their instrument extremely well and blending together to form a solid wall of interesting sound. I was taken in by the varied bass lines and guitar solos throughout the album but the shining star is singer Elaine Tuttle who puts on a great performance that was unexpected in it’s aggressiveness and technique. A band can have the greatest players in the world but it means nothing if the singer sucks, Elaine Tuttle is a great Rock singer. I would put her in the same company as Julie Westlake (Hydrogyn) and Veronica Freeman (Benedictum), another two female Hard Rock singers that are among my favorites.

Favorite songs: ‘Say Whatcha Mean’, ‘Middle Of The Road’, ‘Karmakaze’, ‘Take Aim’, ‘Thank You’, ‘Eye Of the Jedi’

Vacation is over! Back to work…..

Well, vacation is over and I’m heading back to work this afternoon. How depressing!

It was a nice quiet 7 days off from work with the family. We went to the shore a couple of times and did a few other things but the main thing was that I got to relax. I did some things around the house and spent time with the kids without being exhausted but the thing I did for myself was catch up on some music.

Here’s a few albums I listened to on vacation, I didn’t keep a list but I pulled out a ton from my collection:

The Who – Tommy (1969): A legendary band, a legendary album. I happened to hear a block of three TOMMY songs on one of the classic rock radio stations so I pulled this out for a few spins.

Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977/2008 deluxe reissue): More Classic Rock! I picked this up last Tuesday when it came out (more on that when I post a Hunt!) and I have been listening ever since. My wife and I went to the Billy Joel concert on July 3rd so I’m still on a bit of a Billy Joel kick.

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): The album that will not go away! I keep listening and finding something new but it’s still a long listen at close to 2 hours over two CDs. I’m trying to get ready for a review but there is so much music, and Priest is my second favorite band, that I want to give the album a lot of time.

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008): One of the biggest releases of the year and I’m definitely still listening. There’s plenty of good songs here but I’ve had to hit the “skip” button on a few songs.

Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008): So far, my album of the year. Tobias Sammet has really created a masterpiece project with Avantasia, something that was supposed to be a side project that’s now as big as his main band, Edguy. Best song is the Alice Cooper sung ‘The Toy Master’.

Rogue Male – First Visit (1985) and Animal Man (1986): Both of these are reissues from Metal Mind Productions and I have been giving both CDs some serious time. I haven’t heard FIRST VISIT in about 20 years! Reviews coming…..

TKO – Let It Roll (1979) and In Your Face (1984): These two albums are officially reissued CDs from Tribunal Records with tons of bonus tracks. Another time travel back to my early days because I haven’t heard IN YOUR FACE in over 20 years too! I always meant to pick up the vinyl on Ebay but Tribunal has done a solid job with the reissues. Look for reviews soon…..

Temujin – 1000 Tears (2008): The band was nice enough to pass a copy along for review and I have to admit, I was surprised by the excellent music. I had never heard of Temujin but I know them now! The music is like MANDYLION-era and NIGHTTIME BIRDS-era The Gathering with a little Lacuna Coil in there.

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007): Another solid Hard Rock band i missed out on in 2007. Solid album, review soon.

Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008): It’s a really good album but I think their frist record, UNCREATION (2006), is better. I’m still enjoying it though.

Gene Simmons – Asshole (2004): I was picking through my KISS related albums and I decided that this deserved it’s annual spin to see if it’s as bad as I remembered. Unfortunately, this is just a bad album with maybe one or two songs I like. This ties with Peter Criss – One For All (2007) as the worst KISS related album ever.

Paul Stanley – Live To Win (2006): I had to pull this out to compare it to Gene’s album…..light years better! I haven’t given this a spin in a while but it’s obvious who the true creative force is behind KISS.

Griffen – Linked In Eternity (2008): Just reviewed this one and I thought it was great. Only a 5 song demo but professionally done and very cool to listen to.

There were so many more albums that I pulled from my collection that I hadn’t heard fro a long time. I started to pull out different albums from Ratt, Dokken, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, UFO, ZZ Top, and Bruce Dickinson solo. I listened to a few live albums as well from KISS, Maiden, Priest, UFO, Sabbath, Royal Hunt, Motley Crue, Scorpions, Triumph because I want to do a “live album week” in the next couple of months.

It was a great week of music!

Current playlist – 6/30/08

It’s nice having my wife home on vacation from work…..today she decided to take the kids to the lake for the day to give me a break. I’m the stay-at-home Dad during the day and then I work at night, my quiet time is in the dark hours of the late night/early morning when everyone is sleeping.

So what do you do when the wife and kids leave for the day and all you have is the dog? You listen to as much music as possible!

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): There is so much debate on this album but I can’t stop listening to it, there is just so much to take in at once. Overall, I like it.

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008): Playing this non-stop since Tuesday and I like it but there are a few songs that are filler…..then again, every Motley Crue album has some filler!

Night Ranger – Hole In The Sun (2008): Finally getting a release Tuesday (July 1) but it’s been out for about a year in Europe and Japan. It’s a more modern flavored AOR affair but there are still a lot of the trademark Night Ranger sound.

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007): Solid female fronted Hard Rock with a lot of guitars. I’ve been enjoying this all week so thanks to the band for sending it in, a review to come soon.

The Doors – Morrison Hotel (1970): I like me some Classic Rock and I have been a big Doors guy since I was a kid. How could you not turn on the local Rock station and not hear The Doors back in the early ’80s? This is my favorite Doors record, favorites here are ‘Blue Sunday’, ‘Ship Of Fools’, ‘Land Ho!’, ‘The Spy, ‘Indian Summer’. I used to sing ‘Indian Summer’ to my oldest daughter when she was a newborn.

The Doors – Waiting For The Sun (1968): Keeping with the Doors kick, I pulled this album out just to hear ‘Spanish Caravan’, ‘Yes, The River Knows’ and ‘Five To One’ but I listened to the whole thing. I love the riff in ‘Five To One’, you know the one Ace Frehley borrowed for ‘She’?

Krokus – Metal Rendezvous (1980): I have been on a huge Krokus kick the last couple of weeks. Many people think this is the debut but it’s actually the band’s 4th record, it is the debut of Marc Storace on lead vocals though. ‘Bedside Radio’, ‘Tokyo Nights’, & ‘Heatstrokes’ were big time players on the old boombox back in the day!

Armed Forces – Let There Be Metal (1984): I was looking through some old Metal Forces magazines from back in the day (I collect those too!) and the ad for this Brooklyn, New York Metal band stared me right in the face! I remembered this from my record store experiences as a kid but I have never heard it. Thanks to the good people at Vibrations Of Doom who were kind enough to post the E.P. up for everyone’s listening pleasure.

Armed Force – Heavy Artillery (1986): Well…..after a demo, Armed Forces split and became Armed Force. Original band name, huh? Lineup change at singer and drummer from the Armed Forces days and the sound is more Hard Rock than the E.P. Thanks again to Vibrations Of Doom who have this album up also for everyone’s listening pleasure.