No.6 – Maggot Brain – Second Chance – 4/5
If you took some blues based classic rock values of solo theory and riff construction, slapped in a healthy dose of Hendrix brand ‘funk,’ and played it all the to the tone of Nirvana, this is probably the resulting sound you’d be left with. An unheard of gem in the post-grunge scene, and its unfortunate that if they were making music of this calibre just ten years earlier, we may be seeing some of their songs on guitar hero instead.
The first thing that hits you a southern groove that succeeds in being simple yet perfectly addictive, drumming standing loud and proud, and a chorus that will stay in your head for weeks. What makes this band just so incredible is the abilities of each of the members, it’s fully realised and utilised. The drumming is loud and clear, and superbly performed, with ample variety, often presenting unusual patterns and tones to work with. The bass is thick, and helps build on the framework, carrying the song during the twin guitar attacks. And the guitars, weaving in and out of each other, producing both memorable hard-rock riffs as well slower riffs complementing the ballads present, and refusing to let up for the solo’s - gargantuan behemoths to rival skynyrd’s ‘free bird’ or deep purples ‘black night,’ particularly in the track ‘invisible friend.’
Even the vocals deliver on a solid performance, if perhaps slightly overshadowed by the talent of his colleagues, he puts forth a classic rock, part rasped, part southern grunge drawl, and all the time retaining a sense of clarity, a sense of melody perfectly fitting for the unique sound they’ve created.
If there was one argument against this album, it would be the lack of diversity. Every instrument makes an impact, but there is little change in the overall tone or atmosphere of the album. There is ‘over the hill’ acting as the ballad track reminding me of the sort of sound aerosmith would have created, some discernibly slower tempo tracks, and a daring take on ‘Purple Haze’ that pays off in the end, but little else that really gives each track a sense of individuality or identity. This is a twist on the old post-grunge style I’ve not heard done before, and I don’t expect to hear it played at this calibre again for quite some time.
Highlights: Alabama, Invisible Friend, Like it This Way
By T. Bawden