If there is one characteristic that can make a band great it's perseverance. Syracuse New York's Brand New Sin has been hard at it for better than a decade. In that time they've had line up changes and label problems (really? what a surprise.), but also released four albums. United State, their fifth album, finds the band with a new lead guitarist Tommy Matkowski, and founding member and guitarist Kris Wiechmann stepping up to the microphone. What hasn't changed, however, is their penchant for delivering good old American hard rock.
Above, Brand New Sin: Up close and personal for a group mug shot.
Honestly, however, after listening to the first three songs I was wondering if BNS should reevaluate their direction. The Lord Came Down, Know Yourself, and All My Wheels are basically straight hard rock, not all that bad, but lackluster at best, lacking that elusive 'x-factor,' perhaps a hook to draw you in.
Conversely, beginning with the acoustic guitar play, with a dose of Southern rock and blues, of Rotten as Hell and Elbow Grease, I wondered if I was listening to the same band on the same album. Now Brand New Sin is playing to their strengths. The rock of Infamous and Your Song and Dance far exceeds those first early tunes. Then dig the bass groove of The Cup and the Lip or the chunky riffs and hip rock groove of Bed of Nails, and you will know that BNS is definitely on track. Gritty, whiskey, and blue collar rock with a sense of melody are coming through.
As a bonus, if you don't get their rock roots, Brand New Sin covers AC/DC's What Do You Do For Money Honey and Black Sabbath's The Wizard from the Black Sabbath album. Pass on the former, and enjoy the awesomeness of the latter.
One can only hope that United State is Brand New Sin's break out album. For classic American hard rock steeped in tradition, but also made fresh and current, United State rocks. Recommended.
One can only hope that United State is Brand New Sin's break out album. For classic American hard rock steeped in tradition, but also made fresh and current, United State rocks.