(Rum Bum Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Formed in Memphis, Tennessee back in 1996, this full-on Hard Rock entity has been embraced to a certain extent by mainstream U.S. Rock fans with several minor hit singles and albums doing the business.
This is their ninth studio album which would suggest for many that they know what they're about and how to do what they do with total unadulterated efficiency. Expectations are therefore high.
Mind you, to "confuzzle" those who may only be partially interested in the large sound of these U.S. Hard Rockers; technically it is their eighth studio album. In September, 2013, they briefly released a collection they called 'In It To Win It' which featured all the tracks here and included three extra ones to boot. Former lead vocalist Josey Scott left the band in 2012 to be replaced by their current vocalist Bobby Amaru who sings on this set, but why the false reboot of the band, and only now do we receive this album in the shape that it is in, I guess we'll not know for a while.
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Mysteries aside, the album for the most part revels in modern studio production values and trickery without pulling any punches. There are mellow moments and spacious occasions which are dotted throughout the onslaught. Overall, 'Rise Up' is intense and contains plenty to digest if you give it a chance.
'Lost' offers up their softer side without drifting to sleep as they unleash suitable melodic power in portions. Taking this mentality a step further, 'Closer' waves a lighter shamelessly aloft yet still finds appropriate intervals to add some distortion. To imagine these songs on top of four other songs which made it as single releases? I recall those days where a ballad was included on an album with the entire purpose of releasing it as a single to boost the album sales. Apparently, the band's record label/management didn't get that memo.
The four singles to surface thus far include 'In It To Win It' which is a no holds barred rocker. Lunging riffs aplenty amongst a dark, moody verse make up the framework of this muscular number. Maintaining the theme for quiet-loud approaches, '1000 Eyes' made it as a promotional snapshot and thankfully invests more time on providing a chorus with a hook.
The colourful song title for 'Redneck Freakshow' made it as the third single from this album complete with a stomp Marilyn Manson would've been envious of. The final contender for single arrived in the form of the title track which bullied the ears into submission, leaving melody at the door and offering up a straight forward shout-a-long chorus.
'Rise Up' isn't a bad album really but I find myself wondering “why” about several aspects behind the scenes. If you're not distracted like I am, then you get a solid collection of modern sounding Hard Rock where melody creeps in from time to time, and various textures surface allowing songs like 'Closer', 'She Can Sure Hide Crazy' and 'No One But Me' to twinkle like a vigorously polished pair of shoes.
She Can Sure Hide Crazy
No One But Me
In It To Win It
I Don't Want It