Release DetailsLABEL Inside Out
RELEASED ON 4/3/2007
posted on 7/2007 By:
There have been many times when both you and I have heard about a newer project made up of familiar, established, and sometimes highly respected musicians and thought with no hesitation ‘nice, this should fucking rock’. But the self titled debut from Slavior sounds like the equivalent of college seniors playing in a stray cat shit-riddled public sandbox and trying to build castles with dry sand. If you’d like to argue that these dudes are kicking back and playing no frills music from the heart to just rock out to, I can recognize and respect that point of view. But Mark Zonder (Warlord/Fates Warning, drums), Gregg Analla (Tribe Of Gypsies, vocals), and Wayne Findlay (Vinnie Moore/M.S.G., keys, bass & guitar) have presented an album I never expected to hear from them, and can’t figure out where they’re trying to go with it.
“Shatter” has a tagline verse that repeats ‘broken into a million pieces’ more times than I can count to the point of nausea, but it’s during the semi-rapped midsection of this tune is where things lose me and show the first sign of veering into scary commercialized territory. “Swept Away” then proceeds to dive headlong into a recurring verse that sounds like something cannibalized from Disturbed before smoothing out into a rollerblading-along-the-beach chorus. On the flipside, “Deeper” is pretty damn catchy and reminds me of Supershine, and “Another Planet” has a very cool and relaxed vocal arrangement with a lively midsection that adds a nasty little solo, but it’s too bad they decide to throw in more of that Disturbed rapid-fire yapping schnauzer phrasing again immediately after and kill the mood.
Tunes like “Altar” could be Incubus, you probably wouldn’t know the difference unless someone told you, and “Dove“ isn‘t too far from that formula either. While Slavior might have a more radio friendly sound than what readers here may be accustomed to, what keeps this act a few notches above your average producer-created studio band is how the music doesn’t sound naïve, if that makes any sense. This doesn’t sound clumsy no matter how worn the style itself may be, with the Zonder/Findlay bass and drum combination sounding like a 15 year rhythm team who are practically family, and Analla putting down some rather amazing, yet equally awkward vocals in a weird ying-yang of styles meshing stiff urban structures with melodic progressive sustenance.
Perhaps this is way over my head, but Slavior seem to be attempting to either add a technical, progressive flair to commercialized radio rock, or trying to bring radio rock up to a level that appreciators of lithe musicianship can respect. With no bullshit, I’m familiar with all three of these guys through their past works, and have always thought Analla was underrated, and Zonder often overlooked. The bite in the ass about all of it is that it isn’t poorly done in the least, there’s just an oddly dated and misdirected feel here that comes across as three older musicians trying to tap into something a youthful audience can appreciate while still flexing their musical skills, and not quite hitting the mark.
Accuse me of elitism if you want, but there’s not another writer on the staff that I can picture falling over themselves to add this to his/her personal collection either. While all the components make for a promising experience, the finished product doesn’t hit many targets other than making for an inoffensive and passable listen in an environment that is best suited for nondescript, lightheaded music that won’t intrude on other events. This might be great for some, but I just can’t get into it.
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