Monday, April 29, 2013

Surgeon-Chemical Reign


As I clicked on "Chemical Reign", the sophomore release from Philadelphia’s Surgeon, I caught a glimpse of the band's description as a "bold new name to the progressive metal genre". Whoever came up with that gem had to have been high. Sorry, but progressive metal? Not quite. If anything Philadelphia’s Surgeon has managed to combine a little of this (thrash) and a little of that (doom) along with heaping handfuls of street metal, alternative metal, industrial rock, crunchy hard rock, punk and the glory of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement. It's hardly fair to call this 3-piece band "progressive metal" then when they sound more like a weird cross between British metal (Iron Maiden, Witchfinder General), Therapy? ("Screamager" anyone?), a more punk oriented version of Metallica, Danzig, Urge Overkill, Mind Funk, Queens Of The Stone Age and any number of post-grunge/modern metal bands. Or, if you will, they sound like a garage metal band with a huge collection of vinyl featuring everything from Black Sabbath to M.D.C. That's not to say they're punk per say, but it's obvious that Surgeon march to the beat of their own drummer and, in this case, that's Ruston Grosse (ex-Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, ex-Woe, Master tour drummer). Lead by vocalist/bassist Sean Bolton, whose voice has a truly unique and almost sinister edge to it, the band is rounded out by the talented guitar playing of Lydia Giordano.Speaking of Lydia Giordano her guitar playing is sharp and her lead work echos everyone from Tony Iommi to Kirk Hammett. Meanwhile Sean's bass playing adds a serious heaviness to this heavy metal band. The reality is these three musicians perform like a well-oiled machine so there's obviously a lot of chemistry between Surgeon's members. As I wrap this review up I must say that I'm dreadfully sorry if my description leaves some of you wondering exactly what I'm getting at with this 3-piece group of hard and heavy rockers. Even as I listen to the album a second time through while I type this up, hearing everyone from later period C.O.C. to Black Sabbath to Nazareth, I can't quite put my finger on their truly unique sound. All I can say is that if you're looking for some new hard, heavy and slightly "alternative" (in a good way!) metal then be sure to track down a copy of this album. 

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