ASG WIN US OVER WITH WIN US OVER
Amplification of Self-Gratification (ASG) combine a number of ’90s alt-metal influences with their own songwriting style to create an album with Win Us Over (Volcom) that stands out from today’s chug-dominated metal scene. Tool-style riffing lays the foundation for a more straight-up, driving rock attack that rarely relents throughout the entirety of the disc. Win Us Over ends up being like a trip through ’90s alt-metal history with a dose of modern Sabbath-revival stonerism thrown in for good measure (though the music certainly isn’t as stoney as the awesome, super-trippy cover art by Malleus might suggest).
Guitars are the focus of ASG, with Jonah Citty and guitarist/singer Jason Shi’s giant-sized rhythm tracks always mixed to the forefront. Even on Win Us Over‘s slower numbers, wall-of-sound guitars are the name of the game, not that this is a bad thing. Shi’s vocals remind me of a cross between Maynard’s non-Tool efforts and Ian Blurton of obscure Canadian ’90s alternative band Change of Heart. In fact ASG are like the latter in more than just that way; their use of different textures and occasional progressive tendencies remind me a lot of Tummysuckle, COH’s crowning accomplishment. And since most of the people reading this will have no clue what the fuck I mean by that, let me make it clear: I mean this as a huge compliment. Despite the big production, ASG still come off like like an honest dude-bro working man’s band; like, “Let’s just get together and rock the fuck out and have a good time!”
Stand out tracks for me are the heavy, driving “Gallop Song” and “Low End Insight.” “Palm Springs” kicks things up a notch or two, while perhaps my favorite track, the aptly-titled moody “Coffee Despression Sunshine,” slows things way down, calling to mind King’s X’s more pensive, quiter tunes like “Flies & Blue Skies.” Definitely check this record out if you like your metal big and juicy.
(three and a half out of five horns)
ASG are touring the U.S. with Fu Manchu in March. Check their MySpace and Website for info.
“Gallop Song” live in Wilmington, NC, August, 2007:
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