Stand Your Ground
By Todd Jolicouer
When my buddy Steve surprised me with this disc, I was instantly transported to a large field in Pryor, Oklahoma. The year is 2008 and I am waiting to see the band Cockpit on a side stage at the annual Rocklahoma festival. I get there early and just hitting the stage is a band out of Minnesota. They destroy the stage – especially the drummer. This kid is a monster behind the set. The songs are good and the vibe even better. What have they done since??? Let’s find out together.
“Stand You Ground” kicks this off with a total rocker. The guitar work here is rhythmic and sexy. The vocals join in and, much like that hot ass Oklahoma afternoon, my attention is drawn to the drums. This song is a great start – I hope these guys keep this up. “Don’t Get Weak” is a slowed tempo rocker that keeps the foot and head moving. The song really showcases the vocals, both lead and layered background vocals. “Lost My Way” slams in with those massive drums. The guitars effects accentuate the playing and keep the song on track. This rocker keeps pace with the prior track, but something about this one stands out. “Silent Location” jumps back into solid rock tune with a killer riff and that chugging rock groove we all love to pump a fist in the air to. This is one of the better tunes here.
“I Told You” sounds as if the band was trying to branch out of their comfort zone while maintaining familiar ground. It’s a good song, but a bit angst driven for this collection. “Half Awake” swings the disc back around with a solid rock track. The vocals play well with the guitars, bass, and yes… drums. This one puts the tap back in the foot and screams out to be played live. I can imagine a sea of heads banging to this one. “Take A Bow” keeps this flow moving in the right direction. The song lifts the guitar work to another level. The use of effects is excellent, and thrusts the guitars to the front – especially when one of the better solos on the album pops up.
“Can’t Get It Straight” keeps the party alive with a great riff and solid drumming that keep time for this straight ahead rocker. This has to be my favorite here. Something about this one really gets the adrenaline pumping. I think it might be the guitar solo. This one has the only better solo than the previous track. “Lost In The Moment” is another edgy track that shows what the band can do if they decide to turn their back on big guitars and focused on bigger vocals and choruses. The bass line and drums are dark and subtle, while the vocals seem a bit strained. “Black Remains” brings this one home in true rock fashion. The vocals and guitars kick the doors open and end this disc as strong as it started. The way the band plays together here, they really compliment each other.
Now we know what they have been doing since 2008. These guys wrote some really good songs, played the shit out of them and fine tuned a rocking machine that will hopefully bring more to the table for years to come. I can’t wait to see these guys live again, and better yet to hear the next release with more rockers on it.
Review posted 29 June 2012