In Alcatraz 1962
Standby Records is one of those labels putting out modern metal where they are pretty much hit or miss with me. They have put out some bands like Hopes Die Last, Modern Day Escape and Davey Suicide who's music I have completely dug. Then again, there are other bands like Blessed By A Burden or Emergency 911 that have just sucked balls. With that label, there really is no middle ground. Add In Alcatraz 1962 to the "completely dug" list. THE DRIVE is a fairly simple, extremely punishing and yet sonically excellent dose of hammer smashes to the face. Without question, THE DRIVE is one of those releases that leaves me thinking there is hope for the next generation of metal bands.
To be clear, In Alcatraz 1962 will be compared to a bunch of modern bands that only a few new school people will be able to relate to. Since I'm not new school, I'll relate them to something old school that most people won't be able to relate to. In many ways, In Alcatraz 1962 reminds me of an updated for the new century version of San Francisco's Skinlab. Listening to songs like "Eloquence" reminds me of that older generation ferocity that was a combination of sounds ranging from Machine Head to Destruction or Sodom. Guitarists Chris Smith and Allen Call take center stage throughout most of this release; dominating speedy songs like "The Fatal Flaw". They, along with drummer Josh Zupovitz drive each and every song. Zupovitz is one of the better players when it comes to the more modern time changes. He powers songs like "There To Take" with his thunderous performance.
Vocally, Tyler Baldwin is solid yet fairly unremarkable. His growls are fairly uniform and lack a lot of depth. That said though, they are blood curdling at times and are tempered nicely with some clean singing. Songs like "Acceptance" showcase Baldwin's ability to mix it up and keep the listener guessing. While he may not be the best vocalist on the planet, he fits the style this band is trying to achieve. His clean vocals here remind of a bit of Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory.
While all the band members have to get credit for the work here on THE DRIVE, some credit has to be given to producer Don DeBiase for his work on this release. Having heard pretty much everything DeBiase has done over the last few years, it's easy to say this is sonically the best thing to come out of his Studio D. Productions. Unlike so much modern metal that sounds sludgy and dull, THE DRIVE is one of the most alive releases to hit my hard drive in a long time. The guitars and drums are monumental, and yet leave enough room for Baldwin to scream with clarity and without being overpowered. It's a seriously solid piece of production work.
PITRIFF RATING - 87/100 - If you are a fan of extreme metal that borders in parts of death metal, In Alcatraz 1962 might be a gateway band to take you into the world of newer bands. THE DRIVE is a seriously sick, punishing listen (in the best possible way). Hopefully some people will discover it.