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A rock supergroup of sorts, the members of Slave to the System have spent time in Queensryche and Brother Cane respectively, as Scott Rockenfield, Kelly Gray, Damon Johnson, and Roman Glick comprise this project. On the outfit’s 12-track debut, a teeth-gnashing display of hook-laden hard rock hysteria collides with traces of the band’s day gigs, whipping up some of the most organic hard rock heard since Velvet Revolver and Audioslave burst on the scene from the ashes of celebrity excess. When cagey veterans join forces, hopefully songs like the Southern rock twang of “Gone Today” or the unabashed stompbox special that is “Disinfected” blast through the speakers, and thankfully, there is no shortage of intriguing instrumentation, fervent performance, and a sense that these guys are finally able to work outside of the box and let loose, both in mind and in practice here. In fact, Slave to the System explores arenas each member’s main band touched upon in much greater depth and breadth (especially the ‘90s-era Queensryche material), yielding compelling compositions like “Walk the Line”, ready for the radio tracks like “Abyss” and driving grooves like “Cruze Out of Control” without reprise and sans sounding forced or contrived. Feeling and sounding comfortable in their new skin, this self-titled debut merges darker edged progressive and Dixieland hard rock with a substantial sum of soul and is worth a spin for those craving a powerful hard rock release.
- Mike SOS