|Musical Style: Hard Rock||Produced By: Noah Copeland|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2010||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 40:58|
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: The future looks very bright for Lawton, Oklahoma based Crosswire. Drawing upon the tradition of Van Halan, AC/DC, Bride and Stryper – groups that include a duo of brothers within their line ups – Crosswire is led by siblings Noah (guitars) and Seth Copeland (lead vocals, keyboards & harmonica). But you will find no “sibling rivalry” here in that Noah and Seth work capably together along with bassist Justin Michael Wait and drummer Keith Jones to form quite the exciting four piece unit.
Now, at this point I am sure you are wondering where that “bright future” in question comes from. Well, it all starts with the groups independently released 2010 full length debut A World In Flame. The album finds Crosswire heading in high energy hard rock direction not unlike Main Line Riders, Thieves & Liars, AC/DC, Rez Band and Squad Five-0 (Bombs Over Broadway era) Songs such as “This Richman”, “(Stop Your) Love On The Road”, “Can’t Stop Us Now” and “Look At The Sky” just plain kick with their unrelenting momentum and non-stop hooks. The albums title track brings the same type of angst but with a more radio friendly feel. Yet, when the guys slows things to a bluesy mid-paced romp – “Desert Eagle Blues” and “Miles To Go” hearken back to early 90’s Bride - they compose a song every bit as able. The traditional blues of “Southbound Train” even sounds like a more hard rocking version of Glenn Kaiser Band.
The best way to describe the vocal abilities of Seth Copeland would be a joining of Dale Thompson (Bride), Steve Tyler (Aerosmith) and Glenn Kaiser (Rez Band) but mixed with occasional hints of Bon Scott (AC/DC). In other words, the guy showcases his own distinct powerful and raspy style that melds perfectly with the musical happenings at hand.
Noah Copeland is not lacking in ability either. He lays down some scorching guitar riffs throughout – check out “Can’t Stop Us Now” for a great hard rocking riff – but exhibits his versatility with the gritty slide guitar he adds to “Southbound Train”. Soloing wise, he sounds as if he has taken lessons from Bride’s Troy Thompson, as he exhibits in no uncertain terms with his deft lead work on “World In Flame” and “Desert Eagle Blues”. As a musician, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Production might be slightly raw but draws out the bands natural energy in the process. Yes, things could use a touch of polish but all around the sound here is solid for an independent release. The only complain is that lead vocals are mixed a bit high but not to the point of distraction.
A three minute energy explosion, “This Richman” roars its distance in hi-octane fashion to screaming guitar riffage backed by a reverberating low end. The hook to draw you in is present along with the bands trademark sass and attitude in abundance. Strong way to get things going. “This Richman” expounds upon how you cannot take it with you:
Do you think you’ll fit through its eye?
You’re tryin’ to buy salvation
The debts already been paid
There was a man in His day
He tried to live the same way
There was one thing he couldn’t do
He failed the game, is that you?
“(Stop Your) Love On The Road” maintains the initiative. This one showcases an AC/DC flavor – Seth Copeland adds a bit of Bon Scott-like flair to his delivery – with its romping tempo and non-stop energy that just won’t quit. A hint of backing vocals supports its snarling chorus while Keith Jones anchors the low end with a heavy footed drum performance.
The source of true love is the subject at hand:
What’s happened to your life?
There’s a hole in heart, watch ya fall apart
Stung by the edge of a knife
Start a begging to the Father
He’ll take your pain away
Stop this life of sorrow and pain
Come to love today
End is near, have no fear
Get down on your bended knees
“Can’t Stop Us Now” brings a great hard rock riff. Driving, tenacious and just plain catchy, the song highlights some amazing chord progression and soloing but is put over the top by a youthful – almost punk-ish – vigor that borders on the infectious. “Can’t Stop Us Now” deals with making a new start:
I’m breathing from a brand new breath
High above the stench of death
Christ has crushed the serpents head
Now’s the time to wake the dead
If you need a new place to start
He can heal you, mend your broken heart
“Look At The Sky” starts to some open air rhythm guitar before kicking into high gear. The song proves a scorcher its remaining distance, tearing it up during its torrid verses only to taper for a chorus with one of those huge hooks you will be challenged to rid of your mind. This one encourages the listener to set your heart on things above:
It is the Love from up above & its all around
He’s known by many different names & many thoughts
Many thoughts He’s come to seek
He’s come to save that which was lost
I might describe “World In Flame” as the albums most commercial. Now, by commercial I am referring to an element of accessibility that would allow it to receive radio play- and I mean this in a positive sense in that, again, what we have here is another profound chorus hook. Some energetic backing vocals can be found along with a stretch of blazing lead guitar. “World In Flame” stands up for the truth:
He’s the same as He was before
He makes pure all the earth in the flame
Nothing will be the same
When all the worlds in flame
No, nothing ever will be the same as it was before
On the day when the Son of Man came
The one beyond the Name
When all the world’s in flame
Straightforward rocker “Done With You” stands out with its rhythm guitar walls. By far the heaviest here, “Done With You” might not be the catchiest number but holds up all the same with its attitude laden impetus and bands spirited performance. As no-nonsense a piece as you will find. The deceiver is the one Crossfire is “done with”:
You’re a wolf disguised as a sheep
Lickin’ the bones of souls you reap
You seem to be a master of disguise
But I see right through your demon eyes
Our romance has come to its demise
You will see that I’m done with you…
The instrumental “Justin Case” represents the dividing line between the albums high energy first half and more blues driven second. A pronounced bass line leads the way as a near fusion based environs prevails. Plenty of crashing symbols can be found while the guitar playing is straight from the blues.
The masterful “Desert Eagle Blues” is certain to challenge for song of the year. Highlighting a staunch mid-paced tempo, the song exudes tons of emotion its six minute length in giving rise to quite the abundant melody and low end performance that finds Justin Wait and Keith Jones literally joined at the hip. Instrumentally, “Desert Eagle Blues” shines as Noah exhibits the full range of his talent on both lead guitar and seventies styled “talk box”. So much emotion and heart displayed here, both musically and lyrically:
In an instant something blocks the sun from view
Wings drawn out, come between the fangs and you
Eagle Thunder saved your body from the grave, now you’re saved
Journey’s over, take your skin and go back home
Now you’ll never be alone
Things get even bluesier with “Miles To Go”, a slower piece that quietly maneuvers its verses only to abruptly pick up in pace as the rhythm guitar steps forward to underscore its steadfast chorus. The contrasts prove quite compelling as elements of the heartfelt are joined with others bordering on the edgy and driving. Nailing the basics is the message here:
Were getting things back to basics
Like it was so long ago
When everybody was an equal
With inner love and truth to show
We’re gonna get up with a brand new feelin’
One time to sing, one more day
Let’s all go to the water, let’s all go to the sea
Immerse ourselves in holy water
Brother, sister, you and me
“Southbound Train” crosses the line of bluesy heavy rock. Imagine a more hard rocking version of Glenn Kaiser Band as gritty slide guitars and hints of emotion round out what is nothing less than a gutsy scene. The chorus is expertly done – very catchy and full of emotion – while plenty of soul and fortitude round out the instrumental moments. “Southbound Train” insists the times are changing:
Times are changing hard
City’s burnt my soul out of sync
Look at the fools sitting snug in their cars with their drinks
Something’s come undone
This world is on the brink
There’s work here to be done so, forget the southbound train…
A World In Flame proves in no uncertain terms that Crosswire indeed has a bright future ahead of it. The bands high energy is compelling and its songwriting – both up-tempo and more blues based tracks – every bit as laudable. Noah and Seth Copeland, at the same time, are certain to remain a force to be reckoned with for some time. Let’s hope that a quality label such as Retroactive, Soundmass or Roxx Productions picks up these guys.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “This Richman” (3:03), “(Stop Your) Love On The Road” (3:36), “Can’t Stop Us Now” (3:53), “Look At The Sky” (4:37), “World In Flame” (4:03), “Done With You” (2:54), “Justin Case” (2:00), “Desert Eagle Blues” (6:00), “Miles To Go” (5:54), “South Bound Train” (4:48)
Seth Copeland – Lead Vocals, Keyboards & Harmonica
Noah Copeland – Guitars & Talk Box
Justin Michael Wait – Bass
Keith Jones – Drums
Kyle Neal - Guitars