Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Set To Rise-Set To Rise

Relium X Records

As someone whose adult life has been spent in the company of local bands, spanning from co-workers in rock and roll cover acts to friends playing original material of the heavy thrash/death metal variety,  I try my best to give "preferential" treatment to underground and unsigned acts (as far as coverage goes!). So, when Set To Rise bassist/vocalist Jack Carter contacted Heavy Metal Time Machine about the possibility of covering his band's new self-titled EP I took them up on their request. After all it's either I cover new and up-in-coming bands who actually posses integrity and ingenuity or I review the gawd-awful likes of Metallica whose "One (Awards Show Rehearsal Version)" does to the thrash metal scene what Carrot Top does to stand-up comedy! I know what your thinking and yes, it is a damn good call that we go with England's Set To Rise! And speaking of which, on one hand Set To Rise is (self) described as nu metal while on the other hand we find them simply taking ownership of the (less-descriptive, but equally justifiable) term "metal". With the truth falling somewhere in-between (or at least one could argue as much), Kent-based Set To Rise, who started out in 2012 as (briefly) a cover's band before making the jump over to original compositions, list their influences as being Rage Against the Machine, Trivium, Faith No More, Disturbed, Papa Roach and System of a Down. The Rage Against The Machine reference point shows up in opener "Because Of You" and carries on over to one of the EP's two live cuts, a cover of Rage Against The Machine’s "Sleep Now In The Fire". The other live cut, "Taken", is an original composition and shows what this band is capable of in a live setting (hint: BIG THINGS!), but we're getting ahead of ourselves so let's turn back towards this EP's three studio tracks and Set To Rise's varies strengths (well, beside Jack Carter who lays down some drop-dead serious bass riffs on tracks like "Lost" and "Forgetting Me"). Starting with vocalist Adam Fisher (A British Zack De la Rocha?) and ending with drummer Steve Fisher, with skilled guitarist Jonathan Rennick probably the other real highlight here, Set To Rise prove worth on the three original compositions that are included on this 5-track self-titled EP. Of the three original studio cuts picking a favorite proved to be a hard chore as they each bring something different to the party. Then again so did the live track "Taken". Cover to cover what I liked about the band was their ability to mix things up (fantastic guitar solos abound!) while maintaining the one aspect of nu metal I did/still do like-the heavy ass bass backdrops! Even with the nu metal tag and the Rage Against The Machine reference point though there is plenty about a band like Set To Rise to appease traditional metal fans. First of all unlike 99.9% of nu metal bands this Kent-based act employees actual guitar solos ranging from punk ("Forgetting Me") to almost metallic hardcore ("Lost"). In-between Jonathan Rennick throws in (what could almost be described as) garage rock riffs disguised as street metal ("Taken"). And while Rage Against The Machine were more about mad rhymes then mad rhythms we find Set To Rise force-feeding HUGE metal moments to listeners all while lead vocalist Adam Fisher takes the mic so that he can maneuver his army his army into post-hardcore territory. So yes, regular metalheads could enjoy an EP like this one if they give it a chance. If there was any advice to be given on my end to the band though it would be to concentrate on original material first and foremost. Their own compositions stand up just fine and from Adam Fisher down each and every one of these four musicians has serious skill-sets to make Set To Rise a real legit force to be reckoned with. Also, if it were me leading this band (from a management stand-point) I'd advise the band to lean more on traditional metal then nu metal. Given the extreme talent of guitarist Jonathan Rennick and bassist Jack Carter the foundation is in place should Set To Rise ever decide to take up the banner of lean and mean heavy metal. One could only imagine what kind of post-Black Sabbath wonderment could be achieved if  Jack Carter suddenly decided to lay down some SOUL-CRUSHING, Geezer Butler-infused moments over-top of this band's punk and hardcore attitude! That would be insane! Still, I give this band props for who they are now and for how far they have come from covering other artists to writing their own material. This band warrants future listens and is worth following from this point on!

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