Saturday, October 6, 2007

Review: ArthurKill - The Pain (2007)

ArthurKill [ MySpace ]
The Pain
On Top Records

ArthurKill is a heavy, melodic rock outfit hailing from Staten Island, New York. The Pain, their sophomore effort, is a collection of electronic-infused hard rock anthems and hook-laden power ballads ripe for radio airplay. The sonic tapestries woven by the proper mingling of layered synths and driving riffs on Arthurkill's heavier tunes ("On My Knees", in particular) has been a popular rock element to one degree or another since the late '90s due in part to bands like Gravity Kills and Stabbing Westward. These influential bands have made their mark on these four guys from New York, given that their heaviest moments have a decidedly industrial distorted feel.

The Pain wastes no time getting started as "On My Knees" launches from the speakers. Wearing their influences on their sleeves, the band pounds the listener with pulsating riffs from Steve Mironovich and Mike Petillo. Frontman and founder Kenny Munson has a coarse vocal style well-suited to the gritty drive of the song. Because of the outright heaviness of this track, it rises as my choice for the best on the album. The next track, "Come Together", is of course Arthurkill's version of the oft-covered Beatles tune. While I can really only give the track "OK" marks, it does feature a tumultuous solo from Steve that shows clearly just how well he can play. The last "official" track of the album is "Rock Superstar", a cover of the semi-classic Cypress Hill song. I found this to definitely be the better of the two cover performances, given that this composition better suits ArthurKill's crunchy modern sound.

As heavy as the leadoff track and covers are, ArthurKill's strength lies with the band's ability to produce catchy, melodic rock ballads in the vein of bands like Shinedown. The majority of the songs on The Pain fit this formula, and beginning with the title track the listener is introduced to wistful guitar melodies, longingly soulful vocals, and a strumming bass that begs to be slow danced to. Kenny adeptly switches from his aggressive style on the heavier tracks to a heartfelt performance on the ballads that lends considerable feeling to the lyrics. Of these slower tunes, "Life Goes On" stands above the others due in part to a very catchy chorus and an almost mournful lead guitar from Steve. Somewhat heavier than the title track, this song is tailor-made to be a radio hit.

On occasion ArthurKill treads towards a sound that reminds me quite a bit of Limp Bizkit, particularly on "World Go Round" and "Can't Back Down". Not quite as over the top as LB, there is still a hardcorish vibe to the tracks. The album closes with a couple of hidden acoustic tracks, including a version of "Life Goes On", that give a glimpse into the band's past and shows how they have grown since getting their start in the mid-'90s. Overall, The Pain is a solid modern rock album that will appeal to fans of what's heard on the radio these days. While not very original, these guys do what they do quite well and should spark interest as their name gets out.

Track Listing
1 On My Knees 3:09
2 Come Together 2:46
3 The Pain 4:08
4 Life Goes On 4:12
5 Can't Back Down 3:22
6 Lil' Things 3:10
7 U N I 3:56
8 World Go Round 3:22
9 Frozen In Time 3:31
10 Rock Superstar 7:04
11 Annointing The Soul 3:16
12 Life Goes On [Acoustic] 3:09
Total Runtime 45:05

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