CD Review: Rubicon Cross – Rubicon Cross

CD Review: Rubicon Cross – Rubicon Cross
INgrooves Records
All Access Rating: A-

Rubicon Cross - S/T 2014
Forget for a moment that CJ Snare was, and still is, the lead singer of early '90s pop-metal kingpins Firehouse. In the here and now, although Firehouse is still very much alive and well, it's the much heavier and more aggressive Rubicon Cross that demands your full and undivided attention.

A shock to a melodic hard-rock system that needed a jolt of electricity, with a surprise ending nobody will see coming and a raft of strong melodies, the metallic debut album from Rubicon Cross was designed by Snare and songwriting partner Chris Green, a shredding assassin of a guitarist who unloads a fusillade of smoking riffage and searing, armor-piercing solos from an instrument he treats as a lethal weapon. And to beef up their sound, they brought in some musical muscle in the form of Pride/Furyon bassist Simon Farmery, second guitarist Jeff Lerman and Seventh Omen drummer Robert Behnke.

Fueled by raw emotions, heated to a boil by marital discord, feelings of betrayal, sadness over the death of a beloved father and a more uplifting sense of tight brotherhood in the face of adversity, the INgrooves Records release opens its mouth and roars, its big, snaking grooves hissing and lashing out with venomous intent in the face of a powerful, three-pronged storm front of "Locked and Loaded," "Next Worst Enemy" and "Bleed With Me." 

Minus the sleaze, Rubicon Cross is like Velvet Revolver on steroids, its modern hard-rock sheen shined up by producer Rick Beato, who strengthened records by the likes of Shinedown and Fozzy. These are big, thick slabs of rock, as "You Will Remember Me" and "Kill or Be Killed" grow increasingly more tumescent and dynamic with every spin, where the affecting acoustic ballad "Shine" and the more tender, yet still fully loaded and surging with power, "Save Me Within" and "Moving On" leave Rubicon Cross beautifully exposed and vulnerable. 

Clear and distinctive, Snare's vocals are all heart, and they rise above this din. And when Rubicon Cross reveals its pop-punk surprise finale, the infectious Green Day/Blink 182-like "All the Little Things," it's evident that all involved aren't entirely bitter or angry about all they've been through, and that this band might just be their salvation. An exclusive deluxe edition of the record will be available May 19 at Best Buy, and it comes with a poster and bonus tracks. It'd be worth the investment just to see what else Rubicon Cross have up their sleeves.
– Peter Lindblad

No comments:

Post a Comment