Release DetailsLABEL Steelheart Records
RELEASED ON 9/23/2003
posted on 1/2004 By:
I guess it's not going anywhere, is it? Power Metal - True Ancient Power Metal of the kind that I used to make in High School in '84 seems embedded in metal as certainly as distortion. It's sort of unfortunate. Not so much because it's all been done, and done better by the originals, but mainly because it tends to glorify the aspects of older heavy metal that were best left in the past. Solos for the sake of solos, manufacturing songs from disparate ideas that don't really have much to do with each other, and the need to overdramatize the performances, as though the music itself couldn't provide enough drama on its own.
Trampled Underfoot, whether or not it takes its name from the excellent Led Zeppelin ProtoFunkMetal song, is certainly anachronistic in its approach to Power Metal. The band has two sides, as do most bands of this type. One side is a powerful, driving heavy metal act that can swing the beat along in such a way as to keep your head banging despite yourself. In other words, when they rock, they rock. When they play, and all they do is play, they are a decent metal band.
The other side is the afore mentioned overdramatic, overplayed and over zealous power metal band. The singer is another guy who has the pipes but just can't seem to not pretend he's Dio. If he didn't do that he would be a fairly killer voice. The rhythm section is average, maybe a little above in the bass department, but not terribly inventive though, which really hurts the songs. The keyboardist strikes me as the best MUSICIAN in the group, having both talent and taste for the most part. He can burn the keys, but he stays in the context of the music for the most part.
That brings me to the lead guitars. I used to jam with this guy, an excellent rhythm guitar player who could play extremely fast and note heavy leads. He would just amaze people with this ability, myself included. But as I jammed with him I started to get used to his style, and I started to notice something. He was just grabbing a million notes and stuffing them anywhere he could. Whereas a Randy Rhoads or Dave Murray could play fast and note heavy solos, they always kept their shit in context. Their solos were a part of a bigger song, not just an excuse to show how fast your hands could move in concert. I grew to despise this guitar player, and his method, a method that I hear all too often with many soloists. And the leads on this record are almost perfect examples of this. They have next to nothing to do with the music. They are simply note grabbing. As such, while certainly dexterous, they really don't impress me as music.
There are also deeper issues than simple performance. The various parts of each song are not tied together well. The transitions from idea to idea are awkward. Some of this is the production, which is very thick. It's actually pretty heavy, and lends the band an edge most Power Metal groups lack. But the downside is it makes everything sound messy and amateurish.
But it's the songwriting that is the basic culprit. The band is constantly shooting itself in the foot to seem clever. Ruining decent ideas with pointless transitions and start stopish nonsense. Combined with the messy sound it just becomes a joke after while. Also, when you hit "Into The Night" and you realize it's just "Holy Diver", one of the silliest songs in history anyway, you start to simply dismiss the record out of hand.
Bottom Line: Constructive criticism? Break the guitarist's knuckles, quit being Dio and just play straight forward. This could be a killer band, if not exactly award winning, but too much energy is wasted adding unnecessary Adam West styled emoting. The band has the foundation, but needs to become their own voice. As for this record? Don't waste your time. It will end up keeping your coffee table condensation-ring free.
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