Released: 1997, Independant
A new self-titled CD has fallen into my hands by the Arizona band Crushed. When reading their bio the first sentence says that they are a Metal / Alternative band. Needless to say the red flags were up. ("Alternative and metal...hmmm sounds like sellout to me!") I have severe reservations about recommending this CD to any fan of heavy metal (if you're only into death and black metal then stop reading here - ha). But hey, maybe you like alternative influences in metal, and you are perhaps more open minded then me. If so, then Mark Lauer (vocals/guitar), Mike Halland (guitar), Michael Brown (bass), and drummer Jeff Garten are your new found gods of groove laden pop metal alternative whateverlabelyouwantputhere.
OK, the CD is not all bad. It does have it's moments. All things considered here's what is good about it. In places the clean guitar parts over the heavy riffs are very original and should be worked on and emphasized much more in the future! Without a doubt the vocalist can sing. He's not aggressive but in places he conjures up a couple of worthy screams. They do write some catchy choruses and I like the choppy Prong inspired guitar riffs that are scattered throughout the CD.
Here's what's bad about the CD - It's severely lacking in aggression and intensity (what's metal without a good dose of that?) and guitar solos are basically non-existent. Yes the CD has dynamics and is musically textured, but what creates this texturing is what I don't like about the CD. If the pop and alternative influences were eradicated and replaced with brutal sections along with the existing heavy segments, then that's the kind of textures I'm looking for.
On a song by song basis here are the impressions that came to me while listening to the CD
#1 Crescent Draggin Wagon:
Very cool, mid-tempo Machine Head meets Silverchair riffing. A great song and one of the best on the CD.
Non-heavy but melodic vocals over hard rock/metal riffing - seems to be this guys vocal style. Is this alterna-metal? Is there such a thing? Catchy chorus.
#3 Brimstone In A Barren Land:
Boring then gets semi-heavy for about 10 seconds before returning to the "sleepy section." A couple of more aggressive vocal things peek out in this song. VERY nice outro with a clean section accompanying the heavy riffing - they should of built on this part more!!
Silverchair / Fudge Tunnel type of intro then onto a choppy Prong type riff section with the megaphone rapish vocals coming in. Not too bad, good riffing at least! Catchy chorus - a pop metalers dream.
Yawn...heard this a million times before. U2'ish hard pop rock type of song. Way too simple and safe sounding for me.
#6 Galaxy Craze:
Sounds like a continuation of the previous song...yawn. I really don't like this song either.
#7 Whistling Past The Graveyard:
Cool guitars on the intro - nice, chunky and choppy...a bit repetitive but decent nonetheless.
#8 Stars and Tinsel Rust:
Strum Strum acoustic intro...kicks in heavy, ok but unimpressive.
#9 Wire Blind:
Typical, boring, 'nuff said.
#10 Velvet Skin:
Interesting intro with nice acoustic over the heavy riff. It then breaks into more of the same...yawn. Can't these guys speed it up? Do they know the meaning of the word intensity? I think not. Not many solos on any of this either..hmmm....?!
#11 A burned Out Place:
Listen closely, is that double kicks on the intro here? Wow!!.....Oops don't blink its gone. Not a bad song though, actually one of the better tracks on here. The vocals are a bit heavier on this one as well.
#12 River of Sadness:
The song starts and I'm thinking "turn it off now." This is not metal at all. I think cock rockers might like it - yuck.
As of September 9th 1997, the self-titled debut by Crushed is available. The CD is "enhanced" meaning you pop it into your CD-Rom drive to see live concert footage and videos, a neat idea for an underground band. To hear and find out more about Crushed, visit their label 911 Entertainment and their official page at http://www.axscrushed.com
(the site seems to be down...oh well?). So with a few changes I'd look forward to a new release from Crushed, otherwise I wouldn't bother with them.