Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coma-Don't Set Your Dogs On Me

earMusic/Eagle Rock Entertainment

This was one of those albums that I specifically asked for. That alone makes this review all the more "interesting". Let me explain (if I can). I'll go out on a limb here and admit that I didn't recognize the name at first. So I was simply going by some positive reviews and word of mouth recommendations when I put in a request for this promo. When this one showed up in my inbox I read through the notes. "Poland’s biggest rock band..." ended up rattling some brain cells. I did a quick search through my previous reviews and then it finally struck me! I had reviewed their one album, "Excess", back in 2010. I had forgotten all about that album. Of course a lot of stuff was going on for me back in 2010 so it's no wonder this band slipped my mind. Quite honestly I had easily dismissed the band back then as a Linkin Park wannabe. That just goes to show that bands, just like life situations, can change for the better. As I listened to the track "Keep The Peace" kick this album off I'm still secretly questioning if this is the same band I wrote off. That doesn't mean that the Linkin Park vibe I got when listening to this group the first time around has gone completely away. Hell, I'd wager that the bulk of people out there, whether they read this particular review or not, would get the same vibe too. It's still there so that's one influence for this Polish rock band. But there's more to this band then just wanting to sound like Linkin Park. If anything these guys sound more American then most American rock bands! "Always Summer" recalls Creed while "Dance With A Queen" pulls no punches with it's Deftones-style alternative metal. Coma works their way through music that would appeal to fans of Staind, Hinder, Nickleback and Puddle Of Mudd. That's about what you get from "Moscow". Meanwhile "With You" is a catchy number that seems to have found the hidden connection between The Killers and U2. Just when you think you've got the band sort of figured out though they shake things up and dip into post-grunge. Cuts like "Late" and "Song 4 Boys" recall the early rainy days of Seattle. Maybe that's to be expected out of a rock band when you're living in a place that's all cold and wet? That would explain a few things about Coma. That grunge sound doesn't stray too far from their mind. At first "Furious Fate" acts like it's going to a silly ballad before these muscular riffs cut in and crush everything. It's got a bit of a Pearl Jam flavor to it which makes you think that the guys in Coma are all about heavy rock no matter if it comes off sounding like grunge or not. Call it that (grunge) or call it nu metal, alternative rock or just regular radio rock. That part doesn't really matter. Either way you've got to appreciate the crunchy rock these guys bring to the party on so many of this album's tracks ("Rainy Song" anyone?). So yes, these guys know how to rock. But, Coma isn't afraid to flex their creativity on this new album. Take the title cut with it's crunchy & punchy (hey, that's a new description!) heavy funk rock attack and you'll see a group that is willing to take some risks.
"Don't Set Your Dogs On Me" ends up being an album that offers more to the casual listener then just another band trying to capitalize on the success of the "Hybrid Theory" guys! I was wrong for thinking I could just pigeonhole them as such because of what I heard on "Excess". This album might not be album of the year material, or for that matter make them a household name here in the U.S., but it shows that Coma is committed to their craft as a band. It shows a marked improvement as Coma has grown and improved. That's the sign of a good band and Coma are at a stage in their career where they can choose where they go from here. Tweak the edges some here and there and Coma could very easily make some waves here in the States. 

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