Music

5/7/10 - Prison of Sound, Music is the Enemy, Reference Man, and Bone Dance @ the Coalmine.

Review

Killer show! This was the debut of Prison of Sound and my first time seeing Music is the Enemy – two bands whose names had been buzzing around town pretty fiercely in recent weeks and as it turns out, with good reason.

So I had every intention of loving this band, knowing that Prison of Sound was born under the fantastic engineering from some of my favorite Albuquerque luminaries led by bassist Brian Roy who (naturally) enlisted his brother Chris on guitar (both formerly of superheavies, Below the Sound and Mindwar, with Brian also of the late, great Catfish Hunter), the very missed (Devil Riding Shotgun) John Stroh on drums, and who knew? Roñoso Greg on vocals (who I can’t help but think was unmercifully flogged by his crusty dreadlocked friends for rejoicing in his sin as he is lifted and becomes a full-fledged rocker dude.) I also just gave in completely (naming them my new favorite) when they seemingly nailed the decadence of my heroes perfectly, summoning their mojo from the Jesus Lizard, the Melvins, and Helmet.

That night they tossed out maybe 7 or 10 songs – all uppercuts -- with the centerpiece “Hired Hand” that’s heavier, meaner, and sexier than anything I’ve listened to lately. Driven by a smoking mean bass, their songs are ridiculously good! Every deliberate pause, aberrant lurching riff and cymbal crash - ostensibly a work of art - like the caustic “Grey”, bitter “Pandora Express”, and bass-heavy “Seven Days”. Actually, bass-heavy everything -- which is just the way I like it.

While a lot of their songs are full of lament, their lyrics are pretty tongue in cheek; a trademark of Greg’s and worth straining to hear, as in “Shotgun” which describes all of the things a shotgun is not – like “a chew toy”. I say straining because there was a definite lack of volume in the vocals, which some say might’ve been on purpose by Greg himself, but I don’t know. In spite of that, he was still pretty ferocious (although much like a snapping Rotweiler behind a chain link fence, who really wants to do some damage to your head, but can’t). But visually he managed, and it was a fun ride watching him start off mildly calm (as if in some sort of narcotic delirium) then slowly sneak up on you evolving dangerously into a hellrock hurricane as he does like a frantic madman at the end of “Pandora Express” (see the video.)

So right out of the starting gate, Prison of Sound was damn impressive. And I’m convinced that their first album will be an apocalyptic masterpiece. I only hope they bang it out as quickly as they are writing new songs, which is equally impressive for a new band. Then again, we forget who we're dealing with here; Heavyweights all the way.

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