2013 is just over halfway over, and already the critics’ lists of the year’s best in movies and music have gotten pretty crowded. Now with the release of its third full length studio album, Onyx, Michigan based Pop Evil has made the already crowded list of the year’s best rock records even more crowded. This album shows Pop Evil picking up right where it left off with its sophomore release, War of Angels (2011). The band wastes absolutely no time getting right back into gear on this album as its opener, ‘Goodbye My Friend’ shows. This song will get listeners moving with tis high adrenaline music and its equally stabbing lyrics. Front man Leigh Kakaty sings what seems a song about a broken friendship in this piece. He sings in the song’s second verse, “A lesson/I’ve been down this road before/You wasted/Another chance to be something more/Walkin’ in misery/Your trail of lies/Has come to an end/Now I say my goodbyes!” The intensity in Kakaty’s voice as he screams out in the intro to the chorus, “Goodbye my friend” and the intensity of the guitar break that follows creates a complete musical sense of so much anger and frustration that so many people of so many ages have felt more than once in life. That ability for listeners to relate lyrically and be able to feel the same energy through the music makes this a solid choice for this record.
‘Goodbye My Friend’ is a good way to start out this album. Of course it’s just one small part of what makes it a solid release. The album’s very next song, ‘Deal With The Devil’ keeps listeners’ adrenaline flowing full throttle. The steady drone of guitarist Nick Fuelling’s guitar early in the song’s opener make this an easy choice for a live show as it would have no problem getting crowds going. This critic may be wrong, but the chorus of “When ya’ high/Who ya’ flyin’ for/When ya’ ride/Who ya’ riding for/When ya’ toast/Who ya’ drinkin’ for/When ya’ play/Gotta deal with the devil” but it almost comes across as a warning about making poor decisions in life. It’s as if Kakaty is warning listeners, be careful of your choices, those negative choices may have some negative consequences. Should this actually be the reality of this song, then it maintains the certain lyrical vibe started with the album’s opener. The same can be said of the song’s lyrical side, too, especially when the song breaks into its guitar break late in the song. Taking all of this into account, it leaves no doubt it is another solid addition to this album.
The band grabs listeners and keeps their attention with ease in the first two tracks on Onyx. And it doesn’t let up even after ‘Deal With The Devil.’ Some listeners might recognize the album’s next song, ‘Trenches.’ Musically and stylistically, it bears quite the similarity to material recorded by the band’s rock brethren in Saliva. This isn’t a bad thing, either as it will once again keep listeners attention and keep them moving, too with its music. Lyrically, it’s just as striking as it comes across as a song of self-determination that flips the proverbial bird to the naysayers out there. Kakaty sings in this song’s chorus, “I’ve waited all of my life/To get out of the trenches/I’m ready to fight for/What I believe you can’t steal from me/I won’t take this/Gonna fill these trenches and stand up/Wake up/I won’t give up/Cause here I come/Here I come!” Who out there hasn’t had naysayers trying to kick them when they’re doing. It can be in everyday life. It can be in the workplace or somewhere else. But again, because listeners regardless of background, age, etc. can relate to this, it is sure to become yet another fan favorite both on the record and live.
Pop Evil offers plenty for listeners to enjoy early on with its new record as one can tell by now. And it offers much more intensity throughout the album’s remaining nine tracks. There is much more lyrically uplifting material throughout the record including the song, ‘’Beautiful’ in which Kakaty sings about prejudices that people have on others based on the color of someone’s skin, their gender, etc. He sings, telling listeners, “Where it begins/The color of your skin/Nothin’s gonna change/Is it where you grew up/You’ll never know what they’re gonna say…You’re beautiful/You’re beautiful to me/Don’t ever say/You never lost your way/You’re beautiful today/And every day for the rest of your life.” In an age when bullying has become such a prescient issue in our society, this song could not be more relevant. And being so uplifting, it makes for one more wonderful addition to Onyx both musically and lyrically. It’s one of those opuses that could give so much hope to so many in such a short amount of time. The band is to be highly commended for crafting such a song and including it on this recording.
So much more could be noted of this album. But suffice to say that it is some of the best work from Pop Evil yet in the band’s career. And, it gives hope for the future of this hard rocking band based in the nation’s heartland. The album is available now in stores and online now. And the band is currently touring in support of the album. It will be in Rothbury, MI next Friday, June 14th at the Double JJ Ranch. From there, the band will head to Club Getaway in Kent, CT alongside Ten Years. There are even more dates that fans can check out. For a full listing and to see if the band is coming to their town, fans can check out the current tour lineup on the band’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/popevil and its official website, http://www.PopEvil.com. Fans can keep up with all of the very latest from the band on Twitter at http://twitter.com/popevilmusic.
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