The whole idea of this blog was to go back in time and talk about the music that inspired me to play guitar. Of course, the albums I had in mind are all classics, mostly from the '70s. I never thought I'd be talking about a modern day band. Well, I am truly stunned to announce that this time around I will be gushing over "Kiss Or Kill" by EndeverafteR.
The last 2 decades in the world of rock music have been rather pathetic. Let's see, we've suffered the arrival of "grunge", a genre that was invented to accommodate the musical limitations of those involved. Then there's "metal", where everyone completely missed the point and confused cheesy distorted guitars and double-kick drumming with being heavy. And I think there's something called "emo" - don't really know, or care, what it is. The bottom line is that all of it gave "artists" a license to be lame, mediocre and lazy. Just turn on your radio and you'll hear what I'm talking about.
Somewhere in the back of my mind and deep in my heart, I truly believed that we might one day be blessed with a new band with enough of the right stuff to bring back some good-times rock 'n' roll. You can imagine just how excited I was to have stumbled across EndeverafteR.
Led by Michael Grant (vocals & lead guitar), this band sends out a nice big F-U. to the music industry with their debut, "Kiss Or Kill". My first exposure to the band was through YouTube, where I saw the video for the album's opening track, "I Wanna Be Your Man". Thunderous drums, crunchy guitars, cocky vocals and catchy hooks - was I dreaming? Or was this just a tease? Another one-off on a CD otherwise filled with ... well, filler?
The next day I had been to, not one, not two, but three different retail outlets before I found a copy of the album. Once in my car, I popped the CD into the player and simply could not believe my ears! Each and every one of the eleven songs made me grin with satisfaction. When was the last time a band put out an album packed to the seams with nothing but gems? (Uh, that would've been 1980 ... the band was AC/DC and the record was Back In Black).
All the elements of a classic are here. You've got your hard-driving anthems; there's a couple of pop-sensible party tunes; the token arena ballad; a cinematic epic and, just to shut up the non-believers, a sweet acoustic piece complete with mandolin and guest female vocalist. What really becomes obvious with "Kiss OR Kill" is that great songwriting is a craft that, until now, has been lost. But these guys get it. Whenever I'm driving with this CD cranked, I feel like I'm going to the beach (and it's the middle of winter) - THAT's the power of great songwriting!
Favourites for me include "I.W.B.Y.M" , "Baby, Baby, Baby", "Gotta Get Out", "Poison", "Tip Of My Tongue", "All Night" and "Slave". They're great songs to jam along to, with meaty riffs and killer licks. The guitar tones are fantastic - very organic-sounding and not over saturated (which reminds me to mention that I believe we're witnessing the arrival of a new guitar hero in Michael Grant). Oh, and there's something else that catches the listener's attention - melody! Yeah. Melody in the vocal lines ... melody in the solos. And there's harmony too!
So, let me say thank you to Michael Grant for having a vision and turning it into a reality. There was Queen, The Beatles, Kiss and now we've got EndeverafteR. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of "Kiss Or Kill" today.
Thanks for reading.
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