When we say that the sounds you hear on Memo are nothing you have not really heard before do not take this as a slight or criticism as the debut from Canadian hard rockers Raised Emotionally Dead is one of the most enjoyable releases to come along this year. It is pure metallic rioting, with songs and music to turn any occasion or hour into an adrenaline soaked, sonically sculpted thrilling storm. There is also a distinctive breath and tone to the album which does go against our opening line but simply if you are already seduced by the sounds of say early Marilyn Mansion, Murderdolls, Rob Zombie, and Dope you are going to have a ball with this Toronto quintet.
Raised Emotionally Dead was born from the earlier project of vocalist Jezla and guitarist ZeeDee called The Hellz Kitchen Show. 2011 saw the pair build their own recording studio and start Red Channel Records as they sought to discover and perfect their own unique sound. Now you could happily argue that uniqueness is one of the less immediate attributes of Memo but to be fair it is hard to think of anyone who presents the familiarity in the same breath-taking way that these gentlemen do. With a line-up completed by ex-Zeroscape guitarist Specializt, ex- Papa’s Delicate Condition bassist Nibz, and drummer Naz, the band has opened for the likes of Marilyn Manson, L.A.Guns, John Corabi, Vince Neil, Gilby Clark, The Birthday Massacre, DOPE, Faster Pussycat, Dog Fashion Disco, Trash Light Vision, Carnival Diablo, Nash the Slash and many more. Memo is the next major step and one with luck which will open them up to the hunger of the metal/rock world.
The release opens with one of the most contagious songs heard in a long time. Channel Radio stomps all over the senses the moment it leaps from the initial sample, drums thumping with antagonistic provocation whilst the guitars eagerly grind through the ear with compelling riffs and vigorously seductive grooves. With the throaty bass adding its devilry to the mix and the vocals of Jezla scowling over it all like an expressive tempest, the track takes mere seconds to tempt thoughts and passions into joining its bruising cause. Every second and atom of the song is pure contagion, a wicked device to have the limbs, voice, and energy of its recipients expelling their enthused participation. Ok it has that call of recognition to it but the likes of Dope, Mansion, and Wednesday 13, whom the song reminds most of, have not had this effect and persuasiveness about them in a long time, if at all for some.
The outstanding start is soon complemented by the equally hungry and tempting sounds of Shed It, guitars carving up the air with muscle clad riffs alongside an infectious rhythmic menace. The hard rock voice of the song is a clear call which suggest elements of G ‘N’ R whilst vocally again that confrontational squalling tone of Jezla assisted by great group calls, rides the torrent of aggressive energy like a sinewy surfer, syllables and words caught in the appealing wake. As the song and its successor Selfish Inc. rampage with varied intent and enterprise it is hard not to be wrapped up in the fun and energy of it all, whilst that openness of resources just makes it easier to engage and participate with the lure of each track.
Whilst the previous two songs slip slightly below the immense opener both Resistance and Code Red have little trouble in staking their claim for top honours on the release. The first of the pair has a slight industrial lilt to its enticement which makes for a NIN/Pitchshifter like incitement with an extra unintended nod to Italian band Houston! which only adds to the imaginative craft and adventure of the song. The track also continues to push the diversity within the album beneath that surface recognition, something the second of the two equally reinforces with creative ease. There is a feel of Gruntruck at times here as the guitars shape the body of the song and rhythms cast their cage over the senses to appease further the greedy appetite slavering now over every song.
The underlying mystique of Faceless makes an enthralling temptress next, even if the song falls short of the pinnacles set, whilst the likes of Out Of Control with its Jane’s Addiction like groove and the slow burning Messenger captivate with a virulent toxin that leaves nothing less than rich satisfaction.
Closing on the fiery and reflective Applaud, a song which arguably is the weakest on the album yet still enlists full union with its badgering rock sounds, Memo is an album that leaves you exhausted but enriched in pleasure. Yes the band probably need to explore for a distinct voice ahead but right now they have delivered one undeniable treat.
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