SWITCHBLADE ROSIE is an American Progressive Metal band, formed a few years ago. They are said to be “inspired by everything from JOHN COLTRANE to MESHUGGAH, DEATH, and even BACH.” The music contains influences from Jazz, Metal and classical music. The band released a first EP in 2010 and thanks to that could share the stage with a.o. TURBID NORTH and TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION, none of which I have heard of, by the way. But since everyone is in a band these days, it’s normal you can’t know ’em all. On a sidenote, on the drums there is a certain Josh Fallin, who you could know from the Death Metal band DISCHORDIA, who released “Creator, Destroyer” last year. See here.
Anno 2012, since the 17th of March, the second EP is out: “Nocturnal Guest”. This contains four songs, offering an assault on your eardrums from start to finish, in a Progressive way. It begins with “Shore Of Time” and its intro: piano and clean vocals, the combo sounding quite ballad-ish, Poppish even. but then the Neo-Classical Metal breaks loose (the song also ends with this), the vocals being double-headed: clean and growls. The Metal, in general, is groovy, Thrashy, Hardcore-like… a mix, to put it short. The chorus is melodic and sung with a clean voice as well. Halfway the music changes course and you get a solo as well. Overall, this is a pretty good song, where it’s hard to not listen to the drums. Good job by Josh, in this case. One big remark, though: the disorted production. It’s hard to enjoy the music when the sound is not smooth.
Then comes “VO”, what it stands for, I don’t know. On offer is direct midtempo melodic Death Metal, at least as a start. The vocals are rough and screamy and again the drums stand out, due to Josh using all corners of his kit. The Metal itself pounds its way onward, there’s even blasting in the chorus (clean vocals here). The guitarwork does have a Neo-Classical touch. Halfway, again, another direction is chosen, something crazy (by lack of a better term) and very unlike the stuff that preceded. All in all, quite alright. The title track, “Nocturnal Guest”, begins in a melodic way. The drums are there too, but sound too powerful (probably due to the production). This is followed by Jazzy verses, where the clean guitarwork stands out. Gradually the music gets crazier, wilder and… progressive. To revert back to the clean, normal verses with clean vocals. The guitar solo is of the raw kind and here as well the distortion of the production (generally speaking – see also how METALLICA’s “Death Magnetic” suffers from that problem) is a pain to the ears, I’m sorry to say. The music shape-shifts several times and it’s nice, from a musician’s point of view, if you can do this, but it’s doesn’t make the song sound like a coherent whole.
Last but not least (or is it?), there’s “Gale Force Brutality”. This song takes a crazy start with tapping (guitar) and progressive beats. The verses kick in with a lot of groove and thunder, while the vocals are again mixed (clean, rough). A Jazzy piano intermezzo breaks that heaviness a little, but then the ADHD-influence returns. In general, the music is wild here, comparable (at least to me) in a way to IWRESTLEDABEARONCE. Add screaming vocals and the result is very much subjective to taste. Not mine, I’m sorry.
And so a new band steps up with its second release: SWITCHBLADE ROSIE and “Nocturnal Guest”. In general, I like the Neo-Classical influence, the Jazzy stuff and how the band put it together with Metal. But somehow this is not the kind of material to play a few times in a row, rather in a playlist with other bands and styles. I think one can better appreciate the tunes from a musician’s (or related) standpoint, as the bouncing from one influence to another (or rather, calm to wild and back) can get annoying (so to speak). And last, as I said a few times: the sound. It’s compressed, it’s distorted and this is not beneficial for the listening experience. “Nocturnal Guest”has good parts, but the whole is not so accessible. This is one of those “personal taste” cases.
- Shore Of Time
- Nocturnal Guest
- Gale Force Brutality
Chris Aaron – vocals
Jose Gabaldon – guitar
Tyler Blake – bass
Josh Fallin – drums