February 9, 2006

CD Review: Bobaflex - Apologize for Nothing

I mentioned to a friend that I had been listening to a band called Bobaflex and he immediately started laughing. He laughed not because didn't like the band, but thought the name was funny. True, the name is a little odd upon first hearing it, but the music is actually pretty good.

Bobaflex is one of the latest entries in the nu-metal game. The sound is a combination of hip-hop inspired beats, crushing rhythms, and two angles of vocal attack. Take those elements and mix them together, the end result is reminiscent of acts like System of a Down, Korn, American Head Charge and Dope, while never attaining the same level of skill as any of them.

Apologize for Nothing is a pretty good album. The band displays a lot of raw talent and energy, what they need is better song writing. The songs get a good head of steam going, and I can see this being great live, the recording seems restrained. It is as if their energy was drained in order to fit on the disk, rather than being captured at its height of intensity. They may not live up to their potential yet, they do offer something a little different to the listener looking for potential bands of the future.

The album opens with the in your face thunder of "Six Feet Underground," featuring your introduction to the vocalist tag team brothers of Shaun and Marty McCoy. This cut is a good way to get introduced to what they have to offer, while not giving away the best song. That is followed up by "Better Than Me," this tempers the guitar thunder for something a bit more staccato, yet no less heavy.

Track three is where Bobaflex starts really playing to their strengths with "Bright Red Violent Sex." The vocals are clipped, the guitars are measured to induce involuntary head banging. They combine to create an infectious track that invites you to sing along with it's ode to violent love. That is followed by another catchy cut, but to a lesser extent with "Bullseye."

"Guns Ablazin'" expands the horizons, bringing a slowed down groove with some group singing. The song centering on a man during WWII contemplating life and his young family, realizing this may be it. This is one of the better songs lyrically on the album. The slow down doesn't last long, as the tempo picks up for "Got You Trapped," lest you think they were beginning a mellow decline. This song features some interesting, contrasting vocal lines, and some head banging guitars.

Now it is time for what is possibly my favorite songs on the album, "Turn the Heat Up." This brings in some social commentary focusing on the underbelly of America, all wrapped in a good groove and a catchy as hell 2 line refrain. That is followed by another slowdown, the familial ode to the strength of blood, "Family." The song features some good vocal transitions and interesting imagery is conjured up by the colorful lyrics, not to mention the guitar harmonies.

"Guardian" has an anthemic groove with some surreal lyrics. I have read that this was written about Officer Niggemeyer, who had shot down Nathan Gale, the man who had killed Dimebag Darrell on December 8th, 2004. I am not sure I see that, but it still is a pretty good song that aims to rise above. After rising up, take dive into the abyss of drug addiction with "Medicine." At first glance it seems to be taking a positive spin on the problem, yet it is seen from the addicts perspective and shows how they are controlled by it. It is a catchy song, but comes off, thematically, as a poor man's version of Metallica's "Master of Puppets."

Heading down the home stretch leads us to the bizarre "Don't Lie Down With Dogs," which is possibly the oddest song on the disk. It has an strange, metali-funky structure with lyrical content that would warn you of the dangers of sleeping around, but then again....

Apologize for Nothing closes with "Rescue You," a track that has a sweetness at its core, yet retains an aura of danger to it. It features some more interesting musical shifts in guitar and vocal tones and styles.

It is strange, I had listened to the album through a few times as I drove back and forth to work, but it seems as if only know am I hearing it. After a few passes through, I thought I had a handle on what they were offering, another nu-metal act with some interesting rhythms and not much else. Now, as I listen a little closer, I am hearing something a little something more. Nothing revolutionary, mind you, but something that has potential. There are a number of interesting vocal harmonies as the two lead vocalists trade off and pair up, each with a distinct sound. Meanwhile, they have three guitarists to play with, building think walls of sound, or paring down to a smaller groove. Something they could work on is the drum presence, as it stands, it is just here to keep the beat going, expand it a bit and you could add more dimension to the music. The music isn't the most original, but there are definitely some seeds of excellence strewn throughout. With some focus, these guys could get real good.

Bottomline. This is hard hitting album from a band that has potential to blow up. Give this a listen, on the surface it will get the adrenalin pumping, but listen a little closer and you may notice a more nuanced performance than you expected.

Recommended. *** / *****


Post a Comment