AC/DC Approved, but The Answer Maybe Think Metal Sucks
Collective Soul. Far Too Jones. Live. The Verve Pipe. Fucking Bon Jovi?
If there were any words fit for the MetalSucks censorship chopping block, these would certainly be included. This site’s name is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, right? We like metal, don’t we? The Answer are definitely not that. The only way “metal” and “The Answer” ever actually belong together is if someone stated that The Answer are more metal than the aforementioned acts. But only by a little. Guitar tones reach for heaviness, and maybe Cormac Neeson’s voice is a bit rougher than your average radio rock brigade, but in no way does New Horizon scratch the same itch as the twisted ear-torture that merits the “extreme” tag nowadays. Would we even be discussing this thing if The Answer had never had dealings with questionably endowed The End Records? Metal lives to tackle those devils dark and dank; on New Horizon, The Answer have engaged more, uh, everyday demons. (We’re in the shameless borrowing mood today.)
But making harsh judgments on the basis of the heavy music status quo is both lazy and wrong. Taking New Horizon on its own terms as an active rock record yields the sparkly nuggets that provide the record’s charm. Hooks? We’d love to list them, but copying the name of every track would just waste everybody’s time. Of course, that was bound to happen when, in Neeson’s words, “We started off the album process the same away as usual, by getting in a room and jamming like motherfuckers, taping everything and going back to the best ideas. Every time we felt like wandering off and indulging ourselves, we’d rein it in and focus on making an album of direct rock ‘n’ roll songs that’d make you want to get on the dance floor and shake your shit!”
Songs are compact and juiced with head-bopping intensity. Fourth track “Speak Now” turns everything down to a simmer on the verses, right around the same time your other favorite records of this type do the same. Likewise, the dark bass twist of “Concrete” and the spare swagger of “Baby Kill Me” don’t appear until tracks six and eight respectively, when you’re already deep in the album’s clutches. There’s a reason these formulas rose to prominence, and that reason is on full display throughout New Horizon. This bitch probably makes for a ripping road record – we imagine forty minutes of miles just melting away under the relentless groove.
Active rock has a place. If this were Rolling Stone, we’d probably be raving about the revival (damn, this borrowing thing is way too easy) of feel-good alt-rock values that have reliably broken loose from every era of downer music to embrace the hard-rock-lite audience. But this is MetalSucks. And New Horizon ain’t metal.