If there is something to be said about crossover potential, a good bit was said just recently with the release of “Apparitional," the first Century Media output of a fairly seasoned underground Punk outfit in BLITZKID. With a good 14 years of touring in the underground scene throughout America and Europe, they’ve garnered something of a cult following, which is actually quite understandable given the dual dose of consonant brilliance and rough edged mayhem that defines their sound. This is the sort of catchy, riff happy, high energy Punk Rock that is safe enough for Rock radio, yet dangerous enough for Thrash Metal fans who dabble in the occasional Crust/Hardcore/Crossover release, though of the more traditional, 80s variety of course.
As far as frame of reference goes, a good number of early Punk bands could be cited as having a level of influence on the melodic display going on here, but in terms of the gritty edge and speed, there is a very strong MOTORHEAD vibe to what’s going on here. Vocally I can’t help but hear a variety of influences from Joey Ramone to Geoff Tate, as strange as that might sound. Argyle Goolsby is arguably one of the most original sounding vocalists that this genre has seen in a while, and this is based on only hearing one album, mind you. The riff display is modest and within standard major/minor key patterns in concert with standard common practices, but there is a nimbleness and quickness to several points that hint at a mild AMEBIX influence alongside the BAD RELIGION and OFFSPRING tendencies.
Amid the horrific imagery and creepy lyrics fit for shock cinema is an excellent album that pumps some much needed life into a style that’s been somewhat stale for the past couple years, the underground naturally being excluded from this statement. Kicking right off with “Head Over Hills” is perhaps one of the most memorable tunes put together in the past decade, featuring a haunting mixture of woeful baritone and tenor harmonies and the occasional, well placed gang chorus shout. “The Awakening," “They’re All Dead,” and “She Won’t Stop” tell a similar story with even more gang shouts and a busier riff set, all but inviting a fist in the air in spite of one’s Heavy Metal leanings. And for a slight helping of the 80s incarnation of this genre when THE RAMONES were dabbling with keyboards and BILLY IDOL was in the Top 40, check out the eerie “The Bat Whispers."
Speaking as someone who has generally been lukewarm about Punk Rock since the rise of the utterly annoying and pretentious GREEN DAY circa 1994, this was one of the most pleasant surprises to grace my ears in about as many years. Forget any preconceived notions about one-dimensional songwriting and narrow/cheesy lyrics about partying and sticking it to the system, this is something that could literally be qualified as epic. This is a band that can really get the job done in the studio and has successfully morphed a genre recently plagued with tedious orthodoxies into something quite fresh and inviting. All this would need is a few more keyboard tracks and some lead guitar gymnastics to turn itself into a rock solid Power Metal album.
(Online June 27, 2011)