|Musical Style: Progressive Hard Rock||Produced By: Gene Crout|
|Record Label: Righteous Sinner||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2000||Artist Website: America Gomorrah|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 65%|
|Running Time: 58:44|
Denver, Colorado based America Gomorrah takes a foundation of progressive rock and combines it with elements of straightforward hard rock and metal on its independently released full length debut Exchanging Truth For A Lie. While comparisons to the likes of Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, Kansas and Revelation Project would not be unfounded, America Gomorrah, at this point in its career, does not quite showcase the technical prowess of those previously mentioned bands. For example, the albums compositions, while certainly far from bad, rate in the good to very good category and, as a result, would benefit from a few more noteworthy melodies and catchier choruses. On the other hand, America Gomorrah is not lacking in musical ability. Guitarist Gene Crout, who was educated at the University of Miami’s Music Theory and Composition department, contributes a plethora of very well done blues flavored lead guitar work. Crout also fills in admirably on lead vocals with a clean sounding mid-octave ranged vocal style. Bassist Bob Waldman and drummer Carl Busser round out a rock solid rhythm section.
Exchanging Truth For A Lie features a refined though slightly bass heavy production job. A crisp sounding rhythm guitar underscores a clean mix of lead guitar. As a result of a bit of muddiness in the low end, however, the drums do not always rise above the instrumentation as they should.
"Truth For A Lie" gets underway to a drum solo before a hard rocking mix of rhythm guitar, keyboards and piano evenly takes it to a chorus drawing its lyrics from Romans 1:25:
We manufacture our perception of Truth
Always taking the easy way out
Every day we're drifting farther from God
Exchanging truth for a lie
A minute long instrumental passage features a tastefully done keyboard solo followed by several seconds of gritty lead guitar work.
The instrumental "Seven Trumpets" can come across on the long winded side as a result of being carried out past six minutes. Opening to a blend of keyboards, wind and thunder, the song plods along in uninspired fashion, held back by both its lack of energy and a catchy guitar riff. Crout contributes some nice bluesy leads work before "Seven Trumpets" concludes to the sound of thunder.
After a crunchy rhythm guitar backed by keyboards conveys "More Than A Carpenter" at a mid-tempo pace during its verse portions, it gains momentum upon attaining a melodic flavored chorus pointing to the person of Christ:
More than a man
The Son of Man
More than a carpenter
With eyes of fire
And voice like a stream
His words cut to the bone
Crout punctuates the song with just under a minute of gritty lead guitar work.
Taking off to a terrific blues based guitar solo, a driving guitar riff propels "Yamiso" hard and heavy until it attains a chorus bolstered by smooth sounding vocal harmonies. Crout adds more bluesy lead guitar to an instrumental passage ending to a powerful combination of keyboards and rhythm guitar. "Yamiso", a play on words meaning "why am I so", talks about the sinful nature of man:
Why am I so?
Because I am so
The Chief of Sinners am I
Why do I do what I wish not to?
Oh God, have mercy on I
Sinner am I
"Good And Faithful Servant" begins as an acoustic guitar underlines the bluesy lead guitar work taking the song through its first minute and a half. Subsequent to an acoustic guitar sustaining the song during its first verse, the rhythm guitar kicks in as it picks up in pace for a sweeping chorus highlighted by Crout's even vocal delivery. The blues flavored lead guitar returns to buttress a minute and a half long instrumental passage. The seven minute "Good And Faithful Servant" is based around the parable of the talents:
Well done. Good job my son
Well done, my good and faithful servant
Faithful with a few things, I will give you more
Well done, my good and faithful servant
A ringing telephone and answering machine introduces "Revelation 101" before a voice states "Yeah, I got a message". An energetic combination of rhythm guitar and keyboards proceeds to push the song forward until it reaches a chorus driven in ethereal fashion by vocal harmonies. "Revelation 101" takes a tongue and cheek approach to the end times:
I got a little class on economics
It's called Devastation 101
You can go ahead and try to hide
But in an hour there'll be no where to run
You know Babylon will be thrown down
No, never to be found again
The only sound that you'll hear is weeping
From your merchants and the world's great men
The seven minute progressive hard rock of "Better Man" is by far the albums strongest track. Commencing to more blues based lead guitar work, "Better Man" slows upon arriving at its first verse before the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix and fortifies a strong hard hitting chorus. An awesome two and a half minute long instrumental passage gives America Gomorrah the opportunity to display the strength of its musicianship. "Better Man" is about being exactly that:
Though I battle my flesh, I won't give up!
No, I will fight to the end!
I know that the dying is worth the living
I give You all that I am
Lord give me the strength to
Pick up my cross again
A blend of synthesizers and blowing wind drives the minute long instrumental "Prelude".
"This Present Plague", the albums third instrumental, showcases an incredible heavy duty bass line placed right up front in the mix. Proceeding in an upbeat manner to a catchy guitar riff, the song allows Crout to cut loose with just over a minute of lead guitar work before it closes to the muscular bass line in question.
An acoustic guitar slowly carries the twelve minute "Through A Glass Darkly" through its first verse until Crout adds two minutes of bluesy lead guitar work. After the song stops dead in its tracks, keyboards enter the mix that are soon overshadowed by a hard hitting rhythm guitar. The rhythm guitar, however, drops from the mix as the song approaches its second verse only to return to accentuate a good emotionally charged chorus. The message to "Through The Glass Darkly" is based around love:
There is but one command
The sum of all the rest
You must love the Lord, your God
And your neighbor as yourself
Love is all there is
Love is all that matters
There is no mystery
Love is the answer
Exchanging Truth For A Lie is an all around solid debut combining a sound production job and Crout's terrific lead guitar work with well written Bible based lyrics. And while the album holds up well from a musical standpoint, I would, once again, rate the bands compositions to be in the good to very good range. Within that context, the challenge facing America Gomorrah before releasing its sophomore effort is to come up with even better material highlighting stronger melodies and catchier choruses. With the talent displayed here, I cannot help but think America Gomorrah will showcase a demonstrated improvement on any follow up material it records.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track listing: "Truth For A Lie" (4:39), "Seven Trumpets" (6:04), "More Than A Carpenter" (5:08), "Yamiso" (5:32), "Good And Faithful Servant" (6:49), "Revelation 101" (5:00), "Better Man" (7:13), "Prelude" (1:06), "This Present Plague" (4:17), "Through A Glass Darkly" (12:53)
Gene Crout – Guitars, Vocals & Programming
Bob Waldman - Bass
Carl Busser – Drums