The third album from Syracuse rockers BRAND NEW SIN might sound like your average Alternative Metal record at first glance. It’s got the simplistic drop D riffs and raspy vocals typical of Alternative music, so why not? Well, BRAND NEW SIN do several things a little differently, thus placing them firmly in the category of good ol’ Hard Rock.
For starters, there are actual guitar solos on the album and boy are they a welcome surprise. When I first played the album, I really didn’t expect soloing, what with the relative simplicity of the riffing. However, the solos are a huge part of the songs on “Tequila” and the lead player’s style sounds similar to that of “Fast” Eddie Clarke: speed-of-light blues-based soloing. Come to think of it, BRAND NEW SIN seem to derive much of their inspiration from MOTÖRHEAD; vocalist Joe Altier and drummer Kevin Dean also sound vaguely similar to their MOTÖRHEAD counterparts.
Perhaps the most prominent thing that sets BRAND NEW SIN apart from the Alt crowd is their incorporation of subtle Spanish/Mexican-style riffs every now and then (which makes sense if one looks at the album title and cover). This adds a certain atmosphere to the music (especially the album opener, “Said And Done”), giving it a sort of blue-collar, smoky bar feel. The mood is further enhanced through short interlude tracks like “Acehole”, a forty second track filled with various stereotypical bar sounds such as a drink being poured, a patron playing pool, etc.
Despite all the atmosphere, the majority of the songs on “Tequila” fall short. While the soloing is interesting from time to time, the riffs during the verses and choruses are repetitive and annoying. Singer Altier’s raspy, “constant shouting” vocal style got on my nerves after the first few songs and since his range isn’t anything special (read: nearly nonexistent), my opinion changed little as the record progressed. Most tracks sound the same, with little thought given to melody; that’s not to say it’s not there, it’s just that it’s always the same freakin’ one.
To sum it up, “Tequila” is a mediocre pseudo-Western Hard Rock album that I’d recommend passing on. Sure, there are a few songs like the speedy “Motormeth” (which is provided in its entirety for your listening pleasure…just click the link in the tracklist) that are a cut above, but other than that and the excellent album closer “House Of The Rising Sun”, there’s little ingenious songwriting to be found.
(Online November 8, 2006)