Win Us Over
posted on 1/2008 By:
ASG’s Win Us Over has been rattling around the skate-punk/metal bin for about a week now, and while it’s sure to be a hit within a certain crowd, that crowd is not likely the one surfing reviews of bands like Decrepit Birth or Suffocate Bastard on the Metal Review stomping ground. It’s no surprise ASG has had most of its exposure in skate and snowboard video soundtracks alongside acro-brethren CKY – the band’s label, Volcom Entertainment is an offshoot of the skate/surf/snowboard clothing company. The problem with Win Us Over is that these “Southern Lords” may have wanted to break out of the skate video soundtrack racket a little too much.
With that in mind, I must credit the band: I can’t get some of this southern-flavored rock out of my skull. While some may say it is unfair to compare ASG to a band like Corrosion of Conformity (they’re just so goddamn good), that’s exactly what I’m about to do. I’ll explain myself, don’t worry. ASG takes the same style of groove-based, electrified southern riffage of CoC and dials it dangerously close to the center of the radio dial. Granted, both bands can write the hell out of a catchy riff (though CoC blows ASG out of the water), but the rock presented here is just too safe to impress hardcore headbangers.
Vocals are such an important part of music – and metal music in particular – that personal preference can make or break a band. And while Win Us Over’s soaring choruses and clean-as-a-whistle tendencies don’t exactly break the band, they do make the album way too poppy. When I hear the crunchy, groovy riffs showcased here, I expect (and hope) to hear some gravel behind the mic. With this release that’s more often the exception than the rule. However, depending on the listener there may be enough filthy, phlegmtastic Sixty Watt Shaman-type balls-to-the-wall screaming to make a case for redemption. True, vocalist/guitarist Jason Shi only pushes the envelope with extreme vocals about 30 percent of the time, but it sounds pretty good when he does. Sadly, the sugar-coated nature of the other 70 percent drags the overall scope of the music (and there really are some infectious grooves here) down to the 3-3.5 range.
With Win Us Over, ASG takes metallic boogie and cleans up the rough edges, which isn’t ideal for most hard rock/metal fans (or remotely acceptable for some), but others will eat it up – and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like to think I can identify when music is good, whether I like it or not, and this album is good for what it is – a skate-punk album for those who haven’t yet taken the plunge into full-fledged metal. I’d much rather have skaters listening to this than the new Atreyu. Blecch.
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