New York City based rockers Serial Obsession return with their first full-length disc, Shotgun Opera and, like their 2008 EP Sexy But Useless, it's a fine piece of American rock and roll. Drawing equally from rock history and current trends, Shotgun Opera merges classic hard rock with both modern nuances and melodic accessibility. Avoiding the harshness of most modern rock, Serial Obsession brings the rawness and reorientation to rock's roots which both grunge and post-grunge have attempted. Yet, they are not burdened by the fog morose self-flagation that comes with current trends. No, this is a hard rocking album with an upbeat genuineness that punches with good riffs, fiery leads, and catchy melodic hooks.
You can hear this fine merger of past and present in songs such as All the Way, Edge of the Blade, and Half Cocked. Half Cocked along with Dear Abby have a near arena quality, a big sound propelling crafty hooks. Then there's the pure guitar rock of Inside Out, but the guitar licks kill throughout thanks to Mike Souzzi. Vocalist Shawn Sugre is simply brilliant this time around, sounding bit like Scott Weiland mixed with Jerry Cantrell made smooth by Bono.
The production is top-notch, crisp, and clear, and better than expected for a self-produced albums, not doubt a tribute to Serial Obsession's talent and professionalism. On an otherwise excellent album, only Follow You Down and No Surprise seemed dodgy but, not to worry, still sound great and fit well with whole work. Serial Obsession's Shotgun Opera is prime American melodic hard rock and, in my humble opinion, the album they were destined to make. Their time has come. Strongly recommended!