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| 22 July 2021 | Reply

Label: eOne Records

Release Date: May 21, 2021

Rating: 89%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Pop Evil always brings their A game to the table, whether a live show or in the studio.  The same can be said about their latest disc of twelve tracks.  Sonically, this disc shows us a different band, without deviating from their sound.  Disc opener “Let The Chaos Reign” charges at you from the first note and doesn’t let up at all.  The heavy bottom end is matched in intensity by Leigh Kakaty’s vocals and the guitar riffs in the mix.  “Set Me Free” keeps the intense sound and vibe alive while digging back into the Pop Evil sound with a rhythm and lyric pattern that swirls metal rock radio vibe of the lyrics with a killer bottom end provided by bassist Matt DiRito (who has since departed the band) and drummer Hayley Cramer.  “Work” is one of those songs that sticks with you listen after listen.  The vocal texture is cool and deviates slightly from the other tracks on the disc.  The chorus is one that you need to listen to closely and more than once to make sure you are picking up the correct words.  This is another song the band should carry into their live show, as it will get hands and heads moving from front to back and side to side.  “Stronger (The Time Is Now)” is a rocker that has deep layered background vocals that add punch to the track during transitions.  There is an underlying groove in the track that burrows itself like an earworm each time this song comes on, while maintaining an anthemic feel.  “Human Nature” takes a slight left turn sonically for the band and disc with a track that has a vocal style and feel that couples with a musical counterpart, culminating is a song that has a Collective Soul sound.  The layered vocals, programming, and lighter guitar parts swirl nicely together in the song.  “Worst In Me” is the quintessential Pop Evil track, from the vocals that show different sides of Leigh as a singer to the different sounds and layers that create the sound underneath.  The bottom end is tight and helps provide a perfect foundation for the guitars to run across.

“Breathe Again” starts off with a storm of guitars, bass, and some programming that provides a great foundation for the vocals and overall production.  The chorus dials back the intensity without losing any of the power of the song or the musicianship.  This song is built for the stage and should go over well mixed with catalog hits when the band hits the road.  “Inferno” slows things down and delivers a track that unfolds with a mild guitar melody that spins with the vocals and builds slowly as the track moves towards the chorus.  The shifts in sonic intensity create a blanket of music that takes on different layers at different moments.  “Raise Your Flag” brings a poppier side of rock to the mix, with a song that should attract some new fans to the music, without turning its back musically on the band’s legacy and fans.  The cadence is catchy and keeps things rolling between the different musical tones on the track.  “Survivor” builds on the band’s arsenal of varied sounds and textures.  This one smacks of a mid-90’s radio hit and features some of the cleanest guitars on the disc from Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling.  While diverse musically, the band reminds you at the transition who they are and what they are about as they add a heavy and energetic bridge.  “Same Blood” has some fun nuances woven into the songs musical tapestry on the intro before shifting gears and morphing into a heavier track that shows how strong and hungry these guys are as they ready to take on the world with new material.  Disc closer “Fire Inside” is another song seemingly constructed for the stage.  I can see and hear the band on stage at a venue like The Machine Shop delivering this song up to a packed house and watching the wave of music envelope each person in the crowd and pull everyone in the room together, even if for only three minutes.

Tracklisting: Let The Chaos Reign – Set Me Free – Breathe Again – Work – Inferno – Stronger (The Time Is Now) – Raise Your Flag – Human Nature – Survivor – Worst In Me – Same Blood – Fire Inside






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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