|Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock||Produced By: Vic Rivera|
|Record Label: Kivel||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2004||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 90%|
|Running Time: 45:32|
AdrianGale is a secular melodic hard rock band with a Christian lead vocalist in Jamie Rowe. Initially getting started with the eighties melodic metal band Tempest but best known for his work with Guardian, Rowe was offered the gig with AdrianGale after forming a friendship with the president of the bands label, Kivel Records. Recording its hard rocking debut Feel The Fire in 2000, AdrianGale followed up two years later with a very fine sophomore effort entitled Re: Program before releasing by far its most noteworthy project to date in Crunch. One of the top releases of 2004, Crunch maintains the trend set by its predecessors by combining an abundance of catchy hard rock hooks with nothing less than a first rate performance from Jamie and company.
Rowe's gritty and raspy lead vocal style continues to remain a strong and steady presence. AdrianGale added a new guitarist in Scott "Riff" Miller since releasing Re: Program, Miller combining with Vic Rivera to contribute an abundance of top notch dual lead guitar work. Rivera also fills in on drums and forms a tight sounding rhythm section with bassist Scott Novello.
Crunch gives prominence to a refined production job featuring just the right amount of polish. A crisp rhythm guitar sound stands alongside a clean mix of lead guitar and pronounced bass lines. The drums evenly stand out above the mix.
Rowe contributed the lyrics to three of the albums tracks, his faith being most evident, appropriately, on the song "Faith". I would describe the lyrical content of Crunch as clean, positive and Christian friendly; in no way do the albums lyrics go against Rowe's faith.
The minute long instrumental "Breaking Stride" begins to a bass guitar solo before a crisp rhythm guitar gives way to several seconds of flashy lead guitar work from Miller.
Opening to a voice stating "crunch time", a near perfect mix of rhythm guitar and bass steadily carries "Crunch" forward until it crests for a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Rivera and Miller bring out the best in the song with an exciting dual lead guitar trade off. Rowe contributed the lyrics to a song dealing with perseverance:
Crunch through it all
Gotta break down the wall
Hold your ground - take a stand
On your feet you will land
Gotta do what you do
The feedback introducing "Faith" gives way to a scream from Rowe and a fast paced guitar riff. Slowing at the start of its first verse, "Faith" gains momentum before it explodes in an energy-laden fashion for a good hard hitting chorus. Miller tops the song off with his fast fingered lead guitar work. The subject matter to "Faith", also lyrically penned by Rowe, is self-explanatory:
Faith - summer brings the sweet, sweet rain
Faith - give me freedom, break these chains of mine
Faith - all my heart belongs to You
Do I have faith? Yes I do?
The power ballad "Without A Moments Notice" embarks to a blend of rhythm guitar and piano before tapering off as a piano carries its first verse. Once the rhythm guitar returns at the start of the second, it leads the way to a commercially accessible chorus that begs for the song to be played on FM radio. "Without A Moments Notice" talks about how quickly life can change and the importance of leaving the past behind:
Without a moments notice - the things you knew have changed
Without a moments notice - your worlds been rearranged...
Be sure to live each day as if it were your last
And leave the past behind you
Kicking in to several seconds of biting lead guitar, "Tougher Than It Looks" settles down to a hard rocking mix of driving rhythm guitar for its verse portions. Picking up in pace, vocal harmonies accentuate the song as it approaches a chorus with a good catchy hook. Rivera’s fiery lead guitar work ranks among the albums best.
The bluesy hard rock "When In Rome" would not sound out of place on Guardian's Miracle Mile. Commencing to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar, the song transitions to a catchy riff that quickly propels it to a groove flavored chorus buttressed by vocal harmonies. Rivera punctuates the song with a nice melodic flavored guitar solo.
A punchy combination of rhythm guitar and bass steadily pushes "Long Gone" ahead until it picks up in pace for a strong melodic based chorus moving at an upbeat tempo. Miller nails a brief but very well done solo to bring out the best in a song dealing with the memories of a broken relationship:
Had to let you go but I must know now that you're
Long, long gone
Do you miss me?
"The Thin Line" gets underway to several seconds of guitar feedback and a bit of backward masking. Taking off to a metal flavored guitar riff, the song proceeds at a mid-tempo pace prior to evenly advancing on a deep sounding chorus fortified by Rowe's raspy vocal delivery. Rivera and Miller highlight the albums heaviest track with another dual lead guitar trade off.
Initiated by a quick drum solo, "Questions" progresses in a strong guitar driven fashion prior to flowing to an emotionally charged chorus asking several relevant questions:
Are we drowned by hate – what is there left to do?
Are we doomed by fate – can we still start anew?
Is it much too late for a world gone insane to survive?
A crunchy rhythm guitar opens an instrumental passage ending to Miller's melodic flavored guitar solo.
Once the instrumental "Freedom" fades in to a quietly played guitar line, it moves forward to a catchy guitar riff carried over an audible bass line. Rivera and Miller handle all harmony solos throughout a song the band dedicates to the men and women of the US Armed forces at home and abroad.
The melodic hard rock of “This Time” begins quietly before a crisp rhythm guitar steps forward and smoothly takes it to a pop flavored chorus with a good commercial feel. I wish the band had expanded upon an instrumental section limited to several seconds of restrained lead guitar.
After "Last Call" starts to a combination of rhythm and lead guitar, the rhythm guitar drops from the mix at the start of its first verse only to return upon reaching the second. The song picks up in pace as it attains a chorus backed by just the right amount of catchy vocal harmonies. "Last Call" deals with knowing when to make the correct decisions in life:
If the courage to move doesn't come your way
Then there's no one to blame if you stay
In the shadow of doubt, could you find your way out?
Could you see it's the...Last call - destiny calling
Sending its message to you
Last call - to drop all your worries
Make all your visions come true
The quality of Crunch is such that it deserves to sell a million copies, and in another era it would have reached if not surpassed that total. Showcasing a ton of catchy radio friendly hooks backed by a near flawless production job, the albums deserves to rank among the finest releases of 2004. While Crunch is certainly not a Christian album, as a result of its lyrics coming across in a clean, positive and Christian friendly manner, it would make a noteworthy addition to your collection.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Breaking Stride" (1:08), "Crunch" (4:06), "Faith" (4:21), "Without A Moments Notice" (4:57), "Tougher Than It Looks" (3:58), "When In Rome" (4:00), "Long Gone" (3:42), "The Thin Line" (3:58), "Question" (4:44), "Freedom" (3:00), "This Time" (3:50), "Last Call" (3:44)
Jamie Rowe – Lead Vocals
Vic Rivera – Guitars & Drums
Scott “Riff” Miller – Guitars
Scott Novella – Bass
Also Reviewed: Tempest - A Coming Storm