When Pop Evil releases its new album, Versatile Friday, its release will end a wait of more than three years for the record. The wait was well worth it, as its already existing singles – ‘Let The Chaos Reign,’ ‘Set Me Free,’ ‘Work,’ and ‘Breathe Again’ – show. The singles paint a rich, melodic hard rock picture of the album that also boasts some engaging and accessible lyrical content. They are just a portion of that overall picture, as they make up the first quarter of its 12-song body. ‘Same Blood,’ the album’s penultimate entry, is another example of what makes Versatile successful. It will be discussed shortly. The infectious song of determination and self-confidence that is ‘Raise Your Flag’ is another example of what makes Versatile stand out among this year’s field of new hard rock and metal albums. It will be discussed a little later. Much the same can be said of ‘Survivor,’ another of the album’s late entries. All three songs do their own, clear part to make Versatile successful. When they are considered along with the album’s existing singles and the rest of its songs, the whole becomes one more of this year’s best new hard rock and metal offerings.
Pop Evil’s forthcoming album Versatile is a strong return for the established hard rock band. It is a record that was worth the wait of more than three years. All four of the singles that the album has already produced do their own part to support the noted statement. They are only a portion of what makes the album stand out. The whole album offers something for audiences to appreciate, including its penultimate offering, ‘Same Blood.’ The musical arrangement featured in ‘Same Blood’ is part of what makes this song stand out. It is a very Sevendust-type composition. That is evidenced in the juxtaposition of the heavy choruses and the softer, more contemplative verses. That sort of point/counterpoint of the two approaches makes this arrangement just as much of a hit as the noted singles. What’s more, it is just as viable of an option for the band in a live setting, as the choruses are sure to have audiences pumping their fists in the air as they sing along. The power exuded by the arrangement (on both sides) works well with the song’s message of unity in its lyrical content to make the song even more memorable.
The noted theme of unity is presented relatively clearly throughout the song. It is clear right from the song’s outset as front man Leigh Kakaty sings, “We’re all the same blood” before adding, “Some people grow up/Too afraid to change/Some people wake up/In a place they hate/Some people give up/When it’s hard to stay/Some people press on.When the world begins to shake/I’ve seen a million different faces/Now I’m starting to see/We’re all the same blood/Every child, every race/Every life, we can’t replace.” That clear message is presented just as clearly in the song’s second verse, in which Kakaty asks, “Who are we/To judge and pray/Dividing lines/Machines of fate/Finding my footsteps/I’m breathing again/Out of the trenches/We get the lions again.” These are some straight forward comments that are full of so much emotion. That emotion is translated just as well through the song’s musical arrangement, again. Considering the impact of that musical and lyrical content together, there is no doubt as to the power of ‘Same Blood’ to Versatile’s overall presentation. The heavy, melodic musical arrangement and call for unity together makes this song just as viable a single as the album’s existing singles and the album’s other works.
‘Same Blood’ is just one more of the songs featured in this record that makes it successful. ‘Raise Your Flag’ also serves to exhibit the album’s strength.
‘Raise Your Flag’ is important because it is so different from ‘Same Blood’ and much of the rest of the album in terms of its musical arrangement. This song is one of those works whose musical arrangement makes it heavy without being heavy. The arrangement is more of a mainstream pop rock type composition a la Imagine Dragons. This is a sign of evolution from Pop Evil because it has never really been known for going lighter and more poppy. Where it is similar to the rest of the album’s musical content is that it is just as sure to be a hit on record and in live situations as the rest of the album’s works.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Raise Your Flag’ is just part of what makes it such a certain hit in its own right. Its lyrical content, which delivers a message of self-confidence and determination, adds to its impact. That message is delivered clearly in the song’s lead verse as Kakaty sings, “Nothing ever feels like it used to/No common ground we can break through/Time to change our ways/Or close the door/Same place/Same temptation/Life full of limitations/My pride/No more patience/Wave your flag/Stop running away/Face everything/Raise your flag/Don’t need to complain…Raise your flag/Stop running away/Lets raise our flag.” The message is delivered just as clearly in the song’s second verse, which finds Kakty singing, “Howl at the moon/Go up in smoke/Just live your life/Some things to choke/This time/Turn around and close the door/Inside, the same frustration/Each day more motivation/My pride/No more patience/Raise your flag/Stop running away/Face everything.” Again, here is a song that reminds listeners not to give up even in difficult times. It is a familiar, message that is just as welcome here as is from any other act across the musical universe. The addition of the song’s moving, infectious musical arrangement to the mix makes the song even more memorable. Together with ‘Same Blood’ the songs show even more what makes Versatile such a strong new offering from Pop Evil. It is hardly the last of the album’s most notable works, too. ‘Survivor’ is one more example of what makes this record successful.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Survivor’ is the first thing that listeners will notice from the song. The 90s rock type approach and sound immediately lends itself to comparison to works from Saliva and so many other bands. Once again, this is a distinct change of pace and style from Pop Evil. It is a change that many (if not most) audiences will welcome from the band, too. That is because it shows the band is not afraid to take a chance. What’s more the chance that the band took here paid off just as much as those taken with much of the rest of the album’s musical arrangements. It is just one part of what makes the song stand out. Its lyrical counterpart adds even more to its impact.
The song’s lead verse is difficult to decipher sans lyrics to reference, but the song’s lead chorus is clear enough that the message becomes obvious. The message in question is that of learning from one’s life experiences and continuing on. That is made clear as Kakty sings, “I’m a survivor/Come ride with me/Through hell and back/Don’t need your sympathy/Everything I want is right in front of me/I’m a survivor/Come ride with me.” The message is made even clearer in the song’s second verse, which starts off just as difficult to decipher. However, as the song continues, the message is easier to understand as Kakaty sings about the tide changing and getting those negative emotions, wanting the world to see. The short and simple here is, again, that message of pushing on through life’s difficult times, having no remorse about it, moving on past those experiences. It is, overall, a message that will resonate just as much with listeners as the messages in the album’s other songs. To that end, it and its musical counterpart make it one more obvious example of how much Versatile has to offer audiences. Between this message, the familiar theme of a broken relationship in ‘Worst of Me,’ the message of personal strength and determination in ‘Stronger (The Time is Now),’ and that of the same in ‘Fire Inside,’ the album’s lyrical content offers audiences plenty of motivation, engagement, and entertainment. The addition of those songs’ musical arrangements to those noted here and those of the album’s existing singles makes for even more appeal. All things considered, this record shows that it more than deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.
Pop Evil’s forthcoming album Versatile is a strong new offering from the veteran hard rock outfit. That is proven through its musical and lyrical content alike. The songs’ musical arrangements show some familiarity to listeners as well as some growth and change from the band. That aside, it all comes together to make this part of the album enjoyable from start to end. The album’s lyrical content adds its own share of appeal to the whole because of its overall accessibility. From themes of determination and drive, to the equally familiar matter of a broken relationship, to that of dealing with the stresses of work, and even things going on in the world, the themes add their own touch to the album’s presentation. The album’s singles and songs examined here all serve to support the noted statements about the album’s appeal. When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s songs, the whole makes Versatile an easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new hard rock and metal albums. Versatile is scheduled for release Friday through eOne.
In other news, Pop Evil has scheduled a series of tentative live dates in support of Versatile. The dates are noted below.
POP EVIL will perform live at the following shows:
Fri. 8/6 – Mt. Pleasant, MI @ Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort & **SOLD OUT**
Wed. 8/11 – Camdenton, MO @ Ozarks Amphitheater
Fri. 9/24 – Orlando, FL @ Monster Energy Rebel Rock at Central Florida Fairgrounds
Thu. 10/7 – Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock at Discovery Park & w/Shinedown
More information on Pop Evil’s new music is available online along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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