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| 13 March 2020 | Reply

Label: Streamline Records

Release Date: February 2, 2020

Rating: 90%

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Detroit rockers Artificial Agent have unleashed another disc of unapologetic rockers that seem to have turned the dial a bit toward the heavier side of rock and roll without straying too far from the sound fans of the band have come accustomed to.  Disc opener “Eye For An Eye” kicks down the door and comes straight at you.  The chugging riffs and heavy rhythm section is a great mix and Derek Jendza’s vocals are the perfect compliment to the musical accompaniment… or is that the other way around?  Doesn’t matter – this is good shit!  “Who’s Got The Bat Now?” is another rocker that kicks off with a cool riff and fret work from Mike Elgert and supported by heavy handed drumming from Karl Crafton.  The vocals kick in and we are off and running.  The chorus is full and the lyrics are fun to sing.  “The Devil Made Me Do It” is a fun rocker that that has a cool guitar riff twisted into the songs DNA that is enhanced by Brad Jendza’s bass and vocals.  The chorus is contagious and the the gang vocals add a bit of punch.  “Finish Yourself Off” is one of my favorite tracks on the disc.  The opening riff and thumping bass line that drive the track while the drums keep the tempo steady kicks off a killer rock and roll storm that intensifies when Jendza’s vocals join the fray.  You are knee deep in rock and roll when all of a sudden the lyrics hit you and the rock floodgates open up!  This song should be a live show stopper!  “Always A Victim” is a total bass-driven rocker that allows Brad to show off his f-string skills.  Brother Derek flexes his vocal muscles on this track as well, giving this song a heavy groove that is given some depth and texture by guitar interjections.

“Waiting to Die” is a chugging rocker that leans heavily on the bass undertones of the track while allowing the guitars and vocals to dance across the track.  The songs heavier vibe is matched note for note by heavy lyrics and delivery.  The cadence gets the foot tapping and the head banging.  “Love Or Lie” is the one track I have trouble wrapping my head around sonically.  It has some cool riffs, a solid rhythm section, and some vocals that come off as a twist between eerie and ethereal… just not sure how it all swirls together under the banner of Artificial Agent.  “We All Need Heroes” is a solid track that has a catchy intro and riff that lays the foundation for the vocals and the bottom end.  The chorus is contagious and begs you to sing along from the first listen.  Be sure to check out the transition from chugging riffs to solos at the bridges.  “Strung Out” has a cool vibe woven into the song that helps blend the different sounds and textures of the track, from the 80’s influenced rhythm section to the funk-filled swagger in the songs framework.  The drums are solid, guitars are fun, and the vocals draw you in.  Disc closer “Do You Love Me Or What?” is the bands twist and take on the sentiment developed in KISS’ “Do You Love Me” and given the AA stamp.  The track opens with guitars but gets a shot in the arm when the drums and vocals kick in.  The cadence of this track is fun and gets my foot tapping from the first note and keeps me engaged throughout the track.  Be sure to check out the solo on the bridge.  Death Ray is a cool collection of rockers that proves once again that rock and roll is alive and well in Detroit Rock City!

Tracklisting: Eye For An Eye – Who’s Got The Bat Now? – Waiting to Die – The Devil Made Me Do It – Love Or Lie – Finish Yourself Off – We All Need Heroes – Always A Victim – Strung Out – Do You Love Me Or What?

Lineup: Derek Jendza (vocals) – Mike Elgert (guitars) – Brad Jendza (bass) – Karl Crafton (drums)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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