|Musical Style: Hard Rock||Produced By: Chozen & Mike Dearing|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2003||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 65%|
|Running Time: 43:45|
Forming in Maryville, Tennessee during 1999, Chozen plays straightforward hard rock mixed with elements of classic rock and blues based hard rock on its 2003 independently released debut Can You See Him Now? If you happen to be a fan of Guardian, Shout, Resurrection Band and Daniel Band, then I cannot help think you will find the music of Chozen to be of interest. Lead vocalist Dan Roark brings out the best in the bands sound with his strong melodic flavored voice. The performance of guitarist Mike Myers is hit and miss in that his lead guitar work often can come across in a manner that is restrained if not uninspired. On the other hand, when allowed to cut loose on tracks such as "Warriors" and "Sweet Forgiveness" he proves a very fine musician. Bassist Andy Rogers and drummer David Sparks round out the rhythm section.
While Can You See Him Now? would benefit from a bit of big budget polish, its production values are quite solid with crisp but slightly raw sounding sonics. The rhythm guitar can come across on the thin side in places. The drums would improve with a cleaner mix. The lead guitar evenly rises above the instrumentation.
Getting underway to an aggressive guitar riff that brings to mind Resurrection Band, "What You See" proceeds at an upbeat tempo until it crests for a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Only an instrumental passage carried by a restrained guitar solo fails to meet expectations. "What You See" reinforces the fact that life extends beyond the grave:
If you're living your life like there's no tomorrow
And if you think that this world will end at the grave
Then you're fooling yourself
Cause what you think is wrong
Life may be good for you right now
But it won't last for long
A gritty blues flavored rhythm guitar initiates "Strength To Win", the energetic environment maintained as the song evenly advances on a catchy chorus delivered in hard hitting fashion. An uninspired guitar solo from Myers does not quite make the grade. "Strength To Win" touches upon the issue of spiritual warfare:
Invisible battles all around me
Demons of darkness and angels of light
Defeat comes quickly in the natural
Help me see with spiritual sight
I long for the day when You come back for me
But until then...I'll pick up my weapons and face the enemy
The powerful "Warriors" jumps out of the gate fast and heavy before slowing as a driving riff carries its first verse in anthem-like fashion. Briefly pausing, "Warriors" advances on a superb epic flavored chorus continuing the album with its discourse on spiritual warfare
So I put on all my armor
I will compromise no more
If we stand in Jesus' power
Then I know we'll win the war
Myers tops things off with a very well done fast paced guitar solo.
Drummer David Sparks underscores the heavy duty hard rocker "Upside Down Kingdom" from front to back with clanging cowbells. A muscular bass line interweaves with a crisp rhythm guitar to start the song, the two pushing it at a mid-tempo pace to a strong commercial flavored chorus. "Upside Down Kingdom" details the source of salvation:
Your darkest sins can be forgiven
His blood makes them white as snow...
The Creator nailed to creation's tree
An empty tomb, a symbol of life
And those who serve Him are really free
Opening to a drum solo, the ordinary sounding "Transparent Man" moves through its verse portions to interplay between the rhythm guitar and drums before the rhythm guitar steps forward and bolsters a chorus I might describe as marginal at best. Myers steps forward with several seconds of gritty lead guitar work. "Transparent Man" deals with the issue of hypocrisy:
You're not fooling anyone
I can see right through you
You say you know Him, but is it true?
'Cause what you say doesn't match what you do
The commercial flavored hard rock of the albums title track brings to mind Canada's Daniel Band. Subsequent to opening at an upbeat tempo, "Can You See Him Now" tapers off upon reaching its first verse as a driving riff steadily pushes it to an infectious chorus with a good radio friendly hook. Only an instrumental passage limited to a few seconds of rhythm guitar holds back a song conveying the truth that Christ is alive:
Look at the cross and in the tomb
They're both empty cause He's alive
Can you see Him now?
After "Do You Wanna Go" plods along in a lackluster manner to a modern flavored guitar line, it reaches a chorus that does not quite hold up when compared to the albums more noteworthy material. The band could have expanded upon an instrumental passage limited to several seconds of rhythm guitar. Next.
A drum solo begins "Supernatural God" before it slowly moves ahead at a compelling mid-tempo pace, the song building and gaining momentum until it transitions to a good groove flavored chorus. Sparks returns with more clanging cowbells to back an instrumental section carried by the rhythm guitar. "Supernatural God" is about exactly that:
He is the Way, the Truth, the Light
You really must believe
And once He delivers you
Then you'll know that we serve a supernatural God
A laid back guitar line that gives way to a quickly moving guitar riff introduces "Sweet Forgiveness", a song with a melody line that brings to mind Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion". While "Sweet Forgiveness" holds up quite well musically, I cannot help but get the feeling that I have already heard this. Myers adds a nice blues based guitar solo to a song dealing with forgiveness:
Sweet forgiveness coming down from heaven above
Sweet forgiveness we've got to learn to love
Taking off in a fast paced manner, the gritty "Will You Be Ready" slows to an edgy blues flavored riff that steadily propels it to a satisfying strong hook filled chorus. Myers contributes comes through with several seconds of the albums best lead guitar work. "Will You Be Ready" talks about the second coming:
When you hear that angel shout Jesus is coming
Make ready His bride
He will return like a thief in the night
On Can You See Him Now Chozen displays a penchant for writing a song with a good catchy hook, tracks such as "What You See", "Strength To Win", "Warriors", "Upside Down Kingdom", "Can You See Him Now" and "Will You Be Ready" all standing out with noteworthy melodies. The challenge facing Chozen, on the other hand, is to develope more consistency in its songwriting skills in that the album features several filler tracks; at the same time, I would like to see the band develope more confidence in its instrumental sound as well. All in all, I look forward to hearing more from Chozen in the future.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "What You See" (3:36), "Strength To Win" (3:37), "Warriors" (5:03), "Upside Down Kingdom" (4:13), "Transparent Man" (4:37), "Can You See Him Now" (3:13), "Do You Wanna Go" (4:56), "Supernatural God" (4:13), "Sweet Forgiveness" (4:59), "Will You Be Ready" (4:55)
Dan Roark – Lead Vocals
Mike Myers – Guitars
Andy Rogers – Bass
David Sparks - Drums