Red Line Chemistry has been making music together for just over ten years. Over the course of that time, the band has released no fewer than three full-length studio recordings. The band has done so all without the help of major mainstream radio corporations or even major record labels. That says quite a bit about this band and its work ethic. That work ethic paid off earlier this year as the band signed a new deal with indie record label Pavement Entertainment and in turn will re-issue its debut album Chemical High and a Hand Grenade later this month. The twelve-track record is a work that any fan of Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, and even Tool and A Perfect Circle will enjoy. Those influences taken into consideration, Chemical High and a Hand Grenade could very well prove to be, in its upcoming re-issue, a whole new beginning for the Kansas City, Missouri-based hard rock outfit. That is evident right from the album’s opener ‘Bullets and Armor.’ The full throttle rocker clearly exhibits the influences of both Shinedown and Breaking Benjamin over the course of its near three and a half-minute run time. Later in the album’s run, the Tool influence comes through in the form of ‘Apology.’ Front man Brett Ditgen is, vocally, a dead ringer for Maynard James Keenan here. ‘Penny Drama,’ which comes halfway through the record’s run is one more noteable addition to the record. It is a well-placed piece considering that it is completely unlike the album’s other tracks, stylistically speaking. Set alongside the previously noted songs, all three songs in themselves show clearly what makes CHAAHG (as it will be known from here on out) such an interesting collection of songs. The songs noted here along with the remainder of the album’s songs show the album in whole to be potentially a whole new beginning for RLC given support from the right sources.
The upcoming re-issue of CHAAHG is one of the best of this year’s crop of music re-issues. It is a record that any fan of Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, and even Tool will want to hear at least once if not more. From beginning to end, the band–Brett Ditgen (vocals), Andy Breit (guitar), Dave Fyten (guitar), Tom Brown (bass) and Mike Mazzares (drums)–took the sounds of those bands and crafted the twelve songs of its own that collectively make CHAAHG a record that is just as much a fit on any mainstream rock radio station today as the bands that obviously influenced it. That is evident right off the top in the form of the record’s opener ‘Bullet and Armor.’ ‘Bullets and Armor’ is a good first impression for the band and an equally solid re-introduction for those that have followed the band since its inception eleven years ago. It is a straight forward, adrenaline-fueled work driven in large part by Mazzares’ time keeping. Breit and Fyten complement Mazzares’ work solidly with their work on the lead and rhythm guitar respectively. The song’s musical content is just one part of what makes it a solid composition. Its lyrical content is just as important to note here, too. While there is some difficulty deciphering the lyrics without a lyrics sheet (as this critic has had to do), some of the lyrics can be deciphered. From what can be deciphered it would seem that Ditgen sings about putting up that proverbial armor to protect against the “bullets” that are “fired” at a person every day and the occasional difficulty of holding up that “armor.” Now should that interpretation hold water, then it would be even more interesting considering such subject matter set against the song’s musical content. The song’s musical content is rather fast-paced and boasts a certain confidence. It is a direct contrast to that lyrical content, thus making it all the more interesting of a first impression from the band on this record. It’s not the only interesting addition to the record, either. Late in the album’s run audiences get an equally interesting piece in the much moodier ‘Apology.’ This song shows just as much as ‘Bullets and Armor’ what makes CHAAHG worth at least one listen.
Red Line Chemistry makes a strong case for consideration among the mainstream ranks with the opening track on its soon-to-be re-issued debut album. The driving, straight-forward sound of the song’s musical content coupled with its equally thought-provoking lyrical content collectively make it a song that would have no trouble catching listeners’ ears. Much the same can be said of the very Tool-esque song ‘Apology.’ Ditgen sounds eerily like Tool front man Maynard James Keenan in his delivery here. His band mates add to the Tool-inspired sound here especially through Breit and Fyten’s work on guitar. That sound set against Ditgen’s vocal delivery as he sings seemingly about a broken relationship makes this song one of the record’s most standout moments. The assumption regarding the song’s lyrical theme comes as Ditgen sings, “You know that I was struggling/You saw I wasn’t well/And it’s killing me to say these things/I don’t feel I’m ready for this…” He goes on to sing, “I know that you were suffering/These decisions that were made/Will you understand you’ve done no wrong/It’s me that was so selfish all inside/I’m sorry/I’m sorry/I’m sorry.” The sorrowful tone in Ditgen’s delivery comes across as being so genuine. It adds so much emotional depth to the song. That depth set against the depth crafted through the song’s musical content makes even stronger the argument in favor of audiences and radio programmers alike giing this album a chance.
Both ‘Apology’ and ‘Bullets and Armor’ are clear examples of why CHAAHG’s upcoming debut-re-issue could very well be a whole new beginning for the band. As much as they prove the value of this album in today’s mainstream rock radio realm, ‘Penny Drama,’ which serves as the album’s midway point is just as solid of an example of why CHAAHG could be a new beginning for RLC. In regards to its lyrical content, this song also comes across as one centered on a broken relationship. That being noted what really stands out about this song is its musical influence. Listening closely to this piece, it can be argued that there is a hint of an influence from Alice in Chains as well as Shinedown and others. The Shinedown influence is especially apparent in the song’s chorus in which Ditgen sings, “She’s no ordinary woman/Weighing on my mind/Latching on to all I’m dreaming…and the other world/It seems so far away.” The vocal harmonies exhibited in the song’s verses instantly conjure thoughts of the two-part harmonies that made Alice In Chains’ music so infectious (for lack of better wording). That in itself is reason enough to make this song yet another piece that could serve as a single for the album’s re-issue. Simply put it is yet another example of why the upcoming re-issue of CHAAHG could mark a whole new beginning for RLC. Regardless of whether this song is used, those previously noted, or any of the album’s other compositions, every one of the songs that make up the body of this record prove together why listeners and radio programmers alike should and will want to give this record at least one listen.
‘Penny Drama,’ ‘Apology’ and ‘Bullets and Armor’ are all clear examples of how much CHAAHG have to offer audiences even almost fifteen years after its original release. All three songs exhibit the influence of bands that are themselves some of the biggest names in the rock community today. The other nine tracks not directly noted here could each be used just as easily to display the band’s talent and its relevance even in today’s mainstream rock world. Radio programmers and listeners that give the record a chance will hear that for themselves from beginning to end. And in realizing this, those audiences that give the record a chance will agree that in whole CHAAHG could be, in its upcoming re-issue, a whole new beginning for this band’s career. It will be available Friday, July 24th via Pavement Entertainment. All of the latest updates on the album are available online now along with all of the latest updates from the band at:
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