Saturday, December 8, 2001 @ 2:55 PM
(Rockin' Rod Records)
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Here's my first CD review of a local band. The album's a bit dated but it's still pure rock. Hope you enjoy the review…
Back in my second year at university I was desperately searching for new music that really sang to my soul. Since I didn't (and still don't) own a computer, I didn't find that new music on KNAC.COM, but rather on a campus radio station called "Underwhere" (whose cool-as-fuck DJ could be best described as Diana DeVille meets Kim Clarke Chapness even though I hate alternative now) this one night while unpacking in my new apartment. I thought I was going to be graced with bland shoegazer coffee-house rock and be quickly put to sleep. Then the riffs to "Conspiranoia" started up and I was sold on this "new" local band called Morally Sound who was being interviewed on that same station. Vocalist Kris Klyne was totally down to Earth, drummer Armand helped to put a serious twist on things and bassist Ashley praised the stellar talents of Iron Maiden while slagging on the Barenaked Ladies.
Honest to God, up until The Rack decided on the air that Pat Travers was an underrated guitar god, that was perhaps the coolest fucking piece of radio history ever broadcast that one night.
But on to the band itself. Since the release in 1999 of their debut CD, Compressed, much has changed in the Morally Sound camp from back when I saw them perform live a few years back. Ashley's departure has since been filled up by new bass player Jesse and the band are not only more comfortable playing more of their original material but they also are becoming more refined as a live band. Of course, if the band had a greater fanbase and more publicity from beyond western Canada, they could ditch the covers altogether in their set. That's where KNAC.COM and you guys come in. But since no one here has any knowledge of Morally Sound, this is where I come in.
Compressed is ten songs full of unashamed, unadulterated, balls-on rock that transcends the fine line between traditional metal and hardcore metal. Soulful yet menacing, poetic yet direct, this is the type of album that Machine Head should've recorded after Burn My Eyes and beyond. The opening song, "This Is Why I Live" conjures up images of the fury and the passion that the band experiences on a day-to-day basis when touring. But look more closely at the lyrics and you'll discover that the song is also a cynical portrait of the 9-to-5 work week, of people stuck in the endless cycle of routine when they could be doing something that they enjoy, much like Morally Sound are doing now. Another highlight of the album would be the slam-tastic "Hard Ass Mother,” a crunching Pantera-like monster of a song that could be the metal equivalent of the old adage of "Don't let the bastards grind you down.” The song even changes speed mid-way, going from slow, to moderately fast, to fast, to breakneck and then back to slow again and the lyrics alone are a reminder of what we really want to say to those who piss us off with their ignorance and negativity ("Everywhere I go/there's always one of you/What gives you the right/to watch what I do?"). "Waiting Idol" could very well be the theme song for nameless KNAC.COM ranters ("Wish but don't work/Pray for my perks/Worship what you made"), "Separate" is an anthem for solidarity if there ever was one and "Conspiranoia" -- the song that started it all for me -- and its storming bass lines simply rocks. And that's not even based on the fact that I've heard these songs played live numerous times, although these songs are the highlights of the album and then some.
If there was even the slightest gripe against this album, I'd guess that it would be the length of the songs which are no shorter than 4 and a half minutes but the guitar and bass playing during the jamming bit make up for that. "Cornered,” at almost 8 minutes in length, however, could have had maybe a minute or two shaved off of it as it sounds a bit too melodramatic and has Kris sounding like Warrel Dane on Ritalin by the end of the song. But since it's the last song, I'll let that pass. And the untitled acoustic bonus track should have been made as an A-side as Kris has the ability to create a decent acoustic power ballad that could put Aaron Lewis to shame.
This is truly one of the best albums by one of the best bands that you've never heard of two and a half years ago. And this is where you come in so that you can find out what the fuss is about.