I'm shocked. Knock me off my seat, and pick me back up again. Here's X-Drive, from Los Angeles of all places, delivering some hard rock that doesn't sound like all the heavy and harsh down-tuned modern rock dribble. No sir. X-Drive and Get Your Rock On deliver classic American melodic hard rock in its finest purist form. Shut the front door, children, and prepare to groove.
Hailing from LA, by way of Oregon, X-Drive is the creation of guitarist Jeremy Brunner. Yeah, you never heard of him. Listen up. This guy can write cool songs, deliver sharp riffs, and slick guitar solos. And he's surrounded himself with some major talent including including bassist James Lomenzo from White Lion and and drummer Fred Fischer from Midline. The album was produced by the late Led Zeppelin engineer Andy Johns. But the true coup d'etat is Brunner landing veteran vocalist Keith St. John from Montrose and Burning Rain fame. St. John is easily one of the most undernoticed and underrated vocalist. He's got the stage presence of a young Robert Plant, and his voice has the hard rock grit melded with soulful blues wrapped in melody. You might hear Plant, Rodgers and, maybe, some Ronnie James Dio, if you can imagine him doing straight rock.
X-Drive's music is big on rock and groove. This is definitely toe-tapping music. It's also big on catchy melodies and often four part vocal harmonies. Then Brunner takes off on his guitar offering melodic versatile lines. Brunner is less a shredder and more a classic rocker in his delivery. Most every song involves these things, but several simply stand out like hard rockin' Love's A Bitch, the rowdy keg tapping Turn the Noize Down, or the simply catchy and intriguing Lay Me Down. For that latter number, every player, instruement, and note blend with entertaining ease for ear candy ecsaty.
Even when X-Drive back off, moderates a bit, the groove remains as does the infectious hooks like with Rattlesnake Eyes or the steady movement of Love Breaks the Fool. They can also turn towards more AOR melodic rock. California has breezy accessible feel that makes for a radio-friendly single. What would classic American hard rock be without a ballad or two. Baby Bye Bye finds St. John soulful and Brunner soaring; Change of Heart moves upon that aforementioned terrific vocal harmony, combined with acoustic guitar and lighter drums, with no guitar solo necessary. More ear candy.
If it seems that I'm more than a little impressed with X-Drive, you got that right. This band has the talent, the chops, the presence, and the music to be huge. The irony, however, is that this American band was discovered by an European label rather than one from their homeland. Pity. But I hope the catch on here. Strongly recommended.
X-Drive and Get Your Rock On deliver classic American melodic hard rock in its finest purist form. Shut the front door, children, and prepare to groove. Strongly recommended.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]