Saturday, June 27, 2015

On Top-Topless

Toil Records

It's no secret that I've been a fan of Philadelphia's On Top since first hearing their 2012 debut, "Top Heavy". A drop-dead serious heavy rock/heavy metal gem, "Top Heavy" left me with high hopes as to the the future of this fantastic power trio. It took some time, but the band did (eventually) make their return with a worthy follow-up in the form of 2014's  "Top to Bottom". Between that (highly-recommend!) EP and the band's (must own!) full-length debut, "Top Heavy", this hard rock/traditional heavy metal band was on easy street. Now On Top return's with their third release (and second overall 4-track EP in as many years) "Topless". Digitally at least, "Topless" is due out on July 9th and if this band was on easy street already thanks to their two previous releases then this new EP should make them the supreme rulers of the surrounding city, state, and country! For band-members Jaron Gulino (lead vocal/bass), Brian Davis (guitar/vocals), and Danny Piselli (drums/vocals) this is as good as it gets and then some! Recorded at Tribe Sound Studios in West Chester, Pennsylvania, engineered by Brian Davis, and mix/mastered by Chris "The Wizard" Collier (KXM, Lynch Mob), "Topless" features the same kind of (sleazy does it) hard & heavy rock that we've come to associate with On Top and once you hit play on this EP's aggressive opener, "Lie to Me", it's all but over friends! Forget about Looks That Kill as this Philly-based trio has Hooks That Kill! These four tracks make you want to get up and get down(!) with the razor rock guitar solos of Brian Davis simply being too good for words! Between those riff-rocking leads and Jaron Gulino's gritty/gruff voice* it's all solid-gold for On Top, but make no mistake as to this band's ultimate strength. For On Top it's always been about that perfect balance between the melodies and the muscle and that's never been more clear than on this catchy EP! On Top's rhythm section helps that along nicely with each individual number on "Topless" showcasing it's own unique charm. Rounded out by the cool songs "Crazy", "282", and "Got Me Runnin'​" (with that last one a real a beauty!) this EP is just what On Top fans need. For the time being this is only a digital release, but sometime down the road there's talk of "Topless" getting a proper CD release. Let's all hope that happens sooner than later and let us also hope that On Top doesn't make us wait that long for their next full-length   release!

* Last time around I described Jaron Gulino's voice as sounding like "Rage Against The Machine's Zack de la Rocha (if Zack had been influenced more by the likes of Bon Scott, Lemmy, Ozzy, etc.) going through a sleazy street metal phase". I'll stand by that statement and no, it's not a problem at all for this band! His voice works well with On Top's guitar-driven, rough and ready stab at heavy metal/hard rock and by this point in the game I simply cannot picture any other singer fronting this trio!

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