Monday, April 07, 2014

MACH22-Sweet Talk Intervention


"Sweet Talk Intervention" is the the full-length debut album from Philadelphia-based MACH22. Although a relatively new name to the hard rock scene the band has already managed to play alongside the likes of Slash (who named MACH22 Grand Prize Winner in Guitar Center’s Onstage with Slash contest!), Cheap Thrill, Steel Panther and Tom Keifer. Additionally, the band, which is fronted by founding member Lamont Caldwell (a soulful front-man who toured with Bilal Oliver as a saxophonist and has also played with artists like Erykah Badu, Common, Kirk Franklin, Dave Matthews Band and The Roots) and plays (highly-addictive) adventurous hard rock, performed for an audience of 75,000 at Jay-Z’s "Made in America Festival"! With the Rock 'Em/Sock 'EM after-effects of this Jeff Labar (Cinderella) produced album still nice and fresh in the air it's pretty easy to pick up on just why a group like MACH22 can crossover from a crowd made up of Steel Panther fans to those of Jay-Z. That's of course assuming that that their live shows are even half as good as what was laid to tape on "Sweet Talk Intervention"! With a backing band that features Sebastian LaBar (son of Cinderella guitarist Jeff LaBar!) on lead guitars and vocals, Ted Merrill* on rhythm guitars and vocals*, Jaron Gulino** on bass and vocals and Damian MonteCarlo on drums you had the making of something special, but "Sweet Talk Intervention" goes above and beyond anyone's expectations! It certainly seems as if no expense has been spared (as far as talent is concerned!) when it came down to making sure that this ten-track release sizzled! And that's just it. What makes this recording stand out is how it crackles with electric energy! Lamont Caldwell stands up front and, just like a revved up preacher about to deliver a sermon of a lifetime, he leads the cavalierly in a chorus of soulful hard rock and heartfelt blues rock and it's more then a little crazy how it all seems so simple in MACH22's hands! There's more than enough in the way of good times to be had on the band's debut and while this house of rock might have been built on hard rock and roll and blues rock MACH22 never rests on it's laurels! The group's base sound would have been more then enough to carve out a niche in this rock market of ours, but by making frequent pit-stops in more out of the way places like AOR, funk and even hip-hop(!) they transform themselves into a all-encompassing band for the ages! It's an odd combination to be sure (hard rock and hip hop?) but here it really works as these different elements (AOR, hip hop and funk) live right next door to drop-dead hard rock riffs and those noisy neighbors of theirs (especially Sebastian LaBar who was trained by the one of the best when it comes to rock-based leads!) are always around to lend a helping hand in keeping it all on track! For MACH22 this (locked and loaded!) 10-track debut album (due to be released on May 6th so mark the date down in your calender!) is a great place to start off their (sure to be long) career! And with an appearance scheduled for this year's Rocklahoma festival (May 23-25 in Pryor, OK so be sure to check out for more information!) MACH22 should be winning over a legion of new fans in no time at all! Both this disc and getting a chance to hear this group live are recommend!

* Besides being voted a finalist in the Mark Tremonti shredding contest by Baltimore's 98 Rock radio listeners and having officially been sponsored by PRS Guitars, Ted's previous band (The Euphorics) performed with Dizzy Reed (Guns N Roses), Smile Empty Soul, Uli Jon Roth, Ionia and Charm City Devils.

** In addition to being an in-demand bassist (he recently played a handful of shows with Charm City Devils) Jaron Gulino fronts the very cool On Top whose 2011 debut-album, "Top Heavy", is highly recommend thanks to it's blend of classic heavy metal (Judas Priest, Saxon, Accept and Dio) and sleazy hard rock (Ratt, Twisted Sister, Dokken and W.A.S.P.).    

***Prior to joining MACH22 as it's drummer, Damian MonteCarlo fronted and played guitar in numerous bands that opened for the likes of Ratt, Skid Row,Warrant, Vince Neil and Dokken. He also self-produced three full-length albums and one EP.

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