|Musical Style: Hard Rock||Produced By: Dann Howard, Steven Urenda & Kevin Periongo|
|Record Label: Tate Music Group||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2011||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 13||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 45:28|
“MediSin Wheel is much more than just a Detroit Heavy Rock band. We are a thinking man's band. We are a spiritually influenced band. We are poets, storytellers, street preachers, and we are also THE definitive Detroit power groove machine. We are the fly in the ointment of the politically correct, and a thorn in the side of those who would love to so readily explain us away. And we're here to stay...”
As taken from the MediSin Wheel website.
Specifically, MediSin Wheel represents a joining of the “blue collar heart and soul” of Detroit natives Rick Ramsden (bass), Dann Howard (guitar), and Mike Blackann (drums) with the “intensity” of former Los Angeles resident Steven Urenda (lead vocals). All veterans in the music scene and having paid their dues both onstage and in the studio, the four draw upon their vast experience to create MediSin Wheel’s very fine early 2011 full length debut Fire On The Moon.
While “power groove” is within the ballpark of what MediSin Wheel is all about, what I hear is straightforward hard rock mixed with blues and groove based overtones. The occasional modern element makes its presence felt as well. If you enjoy F.O.G., Resurrection Band and early nineties Bride - not to mention Lordchain, Crosswire and Dead Moons Grey - then I can see MediSin Wheel appealing to your tastes.
One thing to keep in mind is that MediSin Wheel is by no means “reinventing the wheel” on Fire On The Moon. In other words, we have heard the bluesy take on hard rock countless times before, but that is not the point. Rather, if the music is well written and skillfully performed - and such is the case here - then it is certainly well worth hearing again, irregardless of style or genre.
Songwriting is excellent when MediSin Wheel is at the top of their game (this is where that previously referenced vast experience comes into play). The group proves expert at interweaving its material with notable melodies while presenting with a certain element of diversity in the process. “Zen Nowhere” is a no frills rocker with a catchy hook and “Everybody Knows” a groove heavy piece. You will also find some blues influences, such as on the albums title track and “Make Believe”, while “One Sparrow” presents with an acoustic based sound and “Weight” some modern edges. “Slay Your Dragons” almost borders on the progressive with its time and tempo changes.
The F.O.G. comparison comes about as a result of vocalist Steven Urenda, who brings a style closely resembling that of F.O.G. front man Dave Miller. You will also hear some hints of Glenn Kaiser (Resurrection Band) and Dale Thompson (Bride) in his delivery. Needless to say, he aligns well with the musical happenings at hand and brings solid range and emotion in the process.
Musicianship is top notch (once more, credit the bands experience). It all starts with guitarist Dann Howard, whose killer lead work runs the gamut from fiery to the bluesy. Check out “Slay Your Dragons” and “Zen Nowhere” for choice examples of his playing. Bassist Rick Ramsden must also be noted for his pronounced bass lines, which stand out best on “Everybody Knows” and “Fire On The Moon”.
Now, by no means is Fire On The Moon a perfect album. There are a couple of songs that failed to register with me in “Soft Parade” and “He Don’t Know”. Production, at the same time, could use a bit of polish. You will find some slight thinness that while not a major distraction is noticeable nonetheless.
Track By Track
“Zen Nowhere” kicks in hard and heavy to a prodigious guitar riff. The song proves a powerhouse hard rocker the rest its way, delivering a subtle but persuasive catchiness but put over the top by a snarling aura that has classic Resurrection Band written all over it. Lyric snippet:
Here I go again now.
Tell me I aint heavy.
Would you recommend me to your friends?
Do I compromise you?
If I'm wrong or right you?
Make you feel as if you must defend?
Cause I - see you standin', and you tell yourself that you just don’t care
But all your fears give you away.
Man I - see you standin, every choice you make hangs in the air
But all your tears give you away
The resounding bass line to “Everybody Knows” gives rise to a ton of groove. Slowing things to a grinding mid-paced romp, the song will pull you in with the catchiness of its smoothly flowing chorus and scorching run of lead guitar from Howard.
“Slay Your Dragons” represents this reviewer’s choice track. The song brings some compelling time changes, ranging from slower passages upheld by a quietly played guitar and others in which the rhythm guitar dominates in full force. All the while we are treated to a generous melody along with more of the group’s choice musicianship- Howard again takes center stages with his riveting soloing abilities. Lyric snippet:
Falling down is your soul's conviction
And you're so far from home
Sold your soul to your last addiction,
Now you feel so old.
You'll never clear the fallout
Till you lay your dragon down
The albums title track is also dominated by a muscular bass line. “Fire On The Moon” presents with a resonant aura, gradually maneuvering its verses to a blues heavy guitar only to suddenly pick up in pace for its curtly done but hook driven chorus. This one sounds like a heavy rocked up version of a Glenn Kaiser Band song.
“One Sparrow” is a refreshing acoustic based piece- and a very fine one at that! A notable melody can be found along with nice range shown by vocalist Steven Urenda. Lyric snippet:
Did we miss the straight and narrow?
Cause we've traveled very far
Will you crush me?
I'm The Sparrow feeding off the hand of God
And I might not know where you been
But I know just where you are while you remember everything.
The modern flavorings to “Weight” bring to mind Bride’s The Jesus Experience (underrated album, BTW). But that does not mean the song fails to hit hard, as it does with its crunching guitar riffs and presiding chorus. Yes, this one is modern but metal at the same time.
“Make You Believe” highlights a bluesy touch. The albums longest at five minutes, the song plods forward from the start to some riffs that almost border on the doom-like in places. An emotional milieu is merged with a surprisingly catchy hook when considering the driving mentality at hand.
“Soft Parade”, the albums second modern piece, falls a bit flat. Unlike “Weight”, which combines aspects of metal and the modern, this one comes across modern to the point of being forced. That extra something special of the albums better material is missing here, in my opinion. Lyric snippet:
Give me - hard times
The rhythm and rhyme of a common man
And give me - long lines
The perilous times to do what I can
Do the best I can
And give me - everything that you ever could see
But don’t you look so confused
This aint the death of me
I know all that I've been
I know all that I'll be as I carry my cross
Thru the soft parade
“He Don’t Know” represents another skip button. This is the only track I am tempted to describe as filler in that the attention to detail songwriting wise to push things over the top is missing. My overall feeling is that the band is capable of better.
Things close strongly to “Dia Los Muertos”. The song moves its length drifting between acoustic based verses and a bludgeoning chorus that finds the rhythm guitar making its presence felt fixed and firm. Put this on an older Resurrection Band album and it would sound right at home. Lyric snippet:
How many times?
How many times I’ve cried?
How many times denied?
I'm the man from The Other Side
I bled for you when they spread my arms
Felt the wicked blow of the hammer drop.....
On the day of the dead
Another day of the dead
And on the day of the dead
Death couldn’t hold me.
BTW, there are two hidden “bonus” tracks at the end in which the band makes an attempt at stand up comedy. It doesn’t work. Guys trust me, stick to music- you will be much better off for it in the long run!
A good percentage of the 80% score can be attributed the strength of the albums songwriting and bands solid musicianship. But that does not some improvements are not warranted, as can be found in a few uneven tracks and somewhat thin production. My overall feeling is that Fire On The Moon hints at the bands potential; I eagerly anticipate what MediSin Wheel comes up with next as a result.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Zen Nowhere” (3:43), “Table Talk (:30), “Everybody Knows” (4:09), “Slay Your Dragons” (4:25), “Fire On The Moon” (4:54), “One Sparrow” (4:33), “Weight” (4:25), “Make You Believe” (4:58), “Soft Parade” (3:28), “He Don’t Know” (3:14), “Dia Los Muertos” (3:37)
Steven Urenda – Vocals
Dann Howard – Guitars
Rick Ramsden – Bass