Released: 2011, Phantom Republic Music
Reviewer: Robert Williams
3/13 is the new hard rock band of former Flatline guitarist Randy Weitzel, who now also handles vocals in addition to six-string duties in his new three-piece band. Sporting some very unique and nostalgic packaging designed by Randy, 3/13 offer up the nine song debut full length FULL TILT. The digipack opens up to reveal a full color insert that plays off of iconic and familiar hard rock imagery. For instance, the disc itself is meant to look like a vinyl album, more specifically a Casablanca release, with Phantom Republic's logo in the Casablanca font. The 3/13 logo itself also gives a playful nod to KISS' classic logo. (Just don't tell Gene Simmons)
"Blaster" is a hard rockin' mid tempo seventies romp, complete with Ace Frehley stylistic nods noted on the lead guitar and clean melodic vocals that throw caution to the wind, with a loose, devil may care delivery. "One For The Road" is one part AC/DC driving backbeat, mixed with the soul of funky Southern whiskey drinking, barnstorming boogie woogie. On title track "Full Tilt" 3/13 puts the pedal to the metal and business picks up with a raw, hungry garage band delivery amid samples of early eighties era video game noises and lustful porn star moans. "Skool Daze" is a lyrical ode to the hesher high school dropout who looks up to his token rock gods in "Circus magazine" (Do you remember the daze when we depended on rock rags like Circus, Hit Parader and RIP to keep current? You gotta love the internet)
The bottom heavy and bass driven thump of "The Dark Of Yesterday" is a catchy and slightly modern dose of feel good American hard rock. You certainly don't get the impression jamming this disc that there are only three musicians involved, as the wall of sound technique is employed dishing out ample amounts of crunchy rhythm and blasting leads. Things come to a close at the hands of "Death's Head" with a dirty skank beat, brass knuckled delivery that will kock you dead with it's tight fisted urgency.
All in all, a very solid debut effort from 3/13. It's cool to see Randy Weitzel venture outside of thrash metal momentarily to showcase another side of his influences. Flatline fans should be happy to discover some guest appearances by Flatline vocalist Travis Johnson on bass and vocals respectively. Fans of seventies rock juggernauts like KISS, Scorpions, AC/DC and Van Halen should really dig this release. The attention to detail on everything from the album layout to select lyrical references and celebrated guitar licks make this a handcrafted tribute in the true spirit of classic hard rock. Airbourne should take note.