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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I can't recall when I've ever seen so much creativity and conformity in the same album. I don't see why a band as talented and innovative as Escape from Earth feels the need to rip off "Keep Away" by Godsmack not once, but twice (a later track is an edited version of the same song) on grav-i-ty. This is worse than the way Third Day turned Tom Petty's "Time to Move On" into "I've Always Loved You." Even the title, "Get Behind Me," is similar to the Godsmack song, but it's not so identical as to be a spoof in the ApologetiX or Weird Al vein, nor is there any credit given to Godsmack in the liner notes. I think one or the other would be obligatory.
I also have a long-standing
theory that it is impossible to integrate heavy guitars and hyperactive
drums with '60s camp song choruses. Escape offers three songs on this album
to help validate my theory. One final criticism before I get to the good
stuff. It bugs me that a nasal, punky singing style that originated with
bands who didn't even know how to play their instruments or write music
ends up on an album of a band that clearly does. Yes, I realize that punk
is more popular among fans of Christian music than it is in the secular
market. So if you think Incubus should hire Chris Barron (Spin Doctors)
as their new lead vocalist, add an
Now like I said, there's some great creativity on this album too. And with all of the bands out there trying to imitate Filter, Incubus and Sevendust, it's refreshing to see.
I couldn't help bobbing my head and totally jamming out to the loud guitars of the opener, "Gravity," which has that heavy, choppy Jimmie's Chicken Shack vibe with some nice harmonies at the end. I also give very high marks to three other songs on this album. "Higher Than I" sports passionate lyrics...
Do you know my name...and an excellent composition laden with rumbly bass riffs and a couple of Middle Eastern fills. Imagining Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) singing this makes me drool.
"Blood of the Martyrs" adds spooky ambience to a ballsy groove. And one of my favorites has to be the hidden 10th track, an instrumental in which Escape drops some serious science with their bluesy chords, heavy distortion, and even some Jam Master Jay-style turntables.
I've got carpal tunnel from jerking my thumb up-down-up-down throughout this album-but there's easily enough potential in Escape From Earth to keep an eye out for them. If they keep going in the creative direction of the four songs I just mentioned, they might just break the stratosphere. But if they're going to keep lifting music from other artists, they'd be better off as a cover band.
Dan Singleton 12/19/2000