SRC Vinyl, one of the leading names in the vinyl community, announced last week that it will re-issue Mudvayne’s 2005 full-length studio recording Lost and Found on vinyl next month. The band’s third full-length release, it would be followed up by two more albums over the four years that followed before the band’s split in 2010. Since the band’s breakup, each of its members have gone on to rather successful careers with other acts. Front man Chad Gray went on to front the hard rock favorite Hellyeah alongside Greg Tribbett until Tribbett’s departure from that band in 2014. After his departer from Hellyeah, Tribbett joined up with fellow former Mudvayne member, drummer Matt McDonough, former Skrape front man Billy Keeton, and bassist Perry Stern and formed another band that goes by the name of Audiotopsy. The band released its debut album Natural Causes last week. The album, released via Napalm Records, is a solid slab of hard rock that fans of Mudvayne, Hellyeah, and other acts of their ilk will enjoy from beginning to end. There are hints of both noted bands throughout the course of the record’s dozen total songs. Lyrically, it is just as interesting with a number of topics being covered. The combination of that intriguing musical and lyrical content makes for a forty-nine minute ride that any hard rock fan will enjoy from start to finish.
Audiotopsy’s debut full-length studio recording is a solid start for the hard rock quartet. That is thanks in large part to its mix of familiar musical content and equally interesting musical content. ‘Headshot,’ the album’s opener is a good example of how that mix of musical and lyrical content makes this record a worthwhile listen. Right from the song’s outset the band grabs listeners through Tribbett’s driving guitar riff. McDonough’s equally driving tempo is just as effective in holding listeners’ attention as he keeps time behind the kit. Keeton’s vocal talents are on full display in this song, too as he sings what comes across as an introductory statement of sorts for the band. That message is inferred as Keeton sings, “Now that we’ve rode this far/They know just who we are…Driving this battle cry/Racing with bullets high/Heart pounding/Sweat pouring.” While it and the rest of the song’s lyrics could easily be left to interpretation, those few lines coupled with the knowledge of the band members’ histories with their former bands leaves one thinking that there must be some reference to the band members’ pasts. That’s just this critic’s own interpretation of course. And it’s just one part of what makes this song so interesting for audiences. What’s really interesting here is that if audiences were to hear this song without knowing that it was Audiotopsy, one would almost swear one was hearing Mudvayne. That is because of the similarity between the bands’ musical stylings and just as much for the similarity between Keeton’s vocal style and that of Chad Gray. The two sound so much alike that it is eerie. But in making those connections, the song becomes even more powerful of an intro for this record and an equally good example of what this record has to offer listeners in whole.
‘Headshot’ is a solid first impression for Audiotopsy in its debut album. That is thanks to a sound that listeners will find quite familiar as well as for lyrical content that is certain to leave listeners talking. It’s just one example of what makes this album worth at least once listen by the hard rock legions out there. ‘Lylab,’ Natural Causes’ third offering is another example of just how much this record has to offer all the headbangers out there. It is such a solid example of how much the record has to offer thanks to its mix of musical and lyrical content, just as with the album’s opener. This composition doesn’t have the same adrenaline-fueled feel as the album’s opener. However, that is hardly a loss. The heaviness of the song’s musical content does plenty to impress any hard rock fan. It is such an interesting part of the song’s whole because of the attention paid to its use throughout the song. It is used mainly in the song’s chorus to contrast the emotion exuded by Keeton in the song’s verses. Speaking of his delivery, it is a sort of cynical tone, which is in turn accented as he screams in the song’s chorus, “Loved you like a b**** baby/It’s all the same/Love is so strange/Loved you like a b**** baby/Say my name.” One can almost see as much of a sneer on Keeton’s face as he screams these lines and sings through the song’s verses as he does through the choruses. That image, established through the power of the song’s combination of musical and lyrical content, serves to make completely clear why this song is such a welcome addition to Natural Causes. It is just one more of so many welcome additions to the band’s new album, too.
Both ‘Headshot’ and ‘LYLAB’ are good examples of how much Audiotopsy has to offer listeners in its debut full-length studio recording. They are just two examples of what audiences have to expect from this hard rock super group of sorts in its first full-length studio effort. For all of the heaviness exhibited throughout the course of the band’s debut, it also puts on display at least one song that could actually serve as a fitting match with the country’s mainstream rock radio stations in the form of ‘Burn The Sky.’ It has that mainstream feel both in its musical content and that of its lyrics. It is a solid, heavy song in terms of its musical content. But it isn’t so heavy that it wouldn’t be a good fit for any mainstream rock radio station. Its lyrical content will have audiences talking just as much. Keeton sings in the song’s lead verse, “I’ve seen the stains made/I’ve seen the skies change/In came the turnaround/Back to the blackest town/Lost in the dreamscape…Out comes the blackest moon/Holding the hands of doom.” This sounds like a rather nihilistic line, given. But that darkness is immediately as Keeton offers what comes across as a somewhat more optimistic outlook in the song’s chorus. He sings in the chorus, “Starlight/Light up the sky/Black eyes/Blackout comes down/I got a feeling/Light it up/Out shadows back to the wall/Paper souls watch the sun burn it up/Tear it down/Leave ’em right where they fall/And burn the sky/Burn the sky.” It’s almost as if Keeton is saying for all the darkness, there is always a light and there is always hope. That inference can be made even more through the juxtaposition of the song’s second verse and chorus as it is presented in much the same manner. The end result is a song that both musically and lyrically will leave listeners thinking and talking just as much as ‘Headshot,’ ‘LYLAB’ or any of this album’s other offerings. Speaking of those songs they along with the three pieces noted here make Natural Causes a good first effort from Audiotopsy. Fans of Mudvayne, Hellyeah, and other bands of that ilk will agree with that sentiment when they hear this record for themselves. Those listeners that give the album a chance will agree that it is a record that any hard rock fan will enjoy from start to finish even if they hear it only once.
Natural Causes is a good first effort from Audiotopsy. Throughout the course of its twelve total tracks it offers plenty of familiar sounds that will put a smile on the face of any fan of Mudvayne, Hellyeah, and other band of that ilk. The lyrical content of each song makes for just as much interest as the songs’ musical content. Both elements coupled together make Natural Causes a record that any hard rock fan will enjoy from start to finish even if they hear it just once. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Natural Causes is available online now along with all of Audiotopsy’s latest news at:
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