Hailing from New York, Voices of Extreme are no strangers to the rock/metal world, as all the members have worked extensively in the business and are now set to unleash upon our community their second album Break the Silence on October 29. Vocalist Don Chaffin sounds like the ghost of great singers past, one minute channeling Axl Rose and OZZY, the next, Matt Kramer and Chris Cornell. And the band is a definite mash-up of musical styles, combining melodic hard rock and metal with touches of the 90’s alternative bands (the good ones, who were few and far between!). Everyone does their respective jobs well on this record and the results are very good, for the most part.
“Damned” is a fine opener , as it eases us into the V.O.X. groove slowly, the bass front and center on it, while “Apocalypse” comes at you with buzzing riffs and a hook that’s arena-ready. Title track “Break the Silence” is deceptively good, as you think it’s going to be a ballad, but the choruses pack a punch that strongly urges you to reconsider. One of the ballsiest tracks is “Did It Again” featuring the meatiest riffs and a definite modern sound. And while “Numb” certainly has an equally large set of cajones, I found it somewhat irksome, starting with the intro, and things only got worse from there. The good news is this was the exception on the album, not the rule.
“Hollow” has an interesting guitar sound throughout, and is also quirky in its arrangement, but good quirky, not bad. The drums really take the lead on “Blown Away” for a slow pulsating ride that is an album highlight for sure. Another such moment comes in “Sorry”, sounding eerily like Saigon Kick and the aforementioned Kramer. As a big Kick fan I really got into this one.
There are quite a few slow songs on Break the Silence, four to be exact. In descending order of enjoyment, I’d say “Made of Stone” is my favorite because it doesn’t stick to any formula. These guys clearly have influences from all over the map, and it comes through in the music, 100 percent. Next I’ll take album closer “More Than Anything” that reminded me of something found on recent Whitesnake releases, which coincidentally I find to be some of their best. The slow buildup of “Pain” is really what makes it work, with subtle keys and lightness to the drums for the verses, and a little more oomph on the hooks. Lastly, we come to “Tell Me What It Takes”. I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t wild about it, ‘nuff said.
Break the Silence is a very interesting record because it dips its fingers and toes in several different pools of music, never really deciding which one to immerse itself in fully. The songs will keep you guessing, and in several instances, pleasantly surprise you. Having shared the stage with some heavyweights these last few years, Voices of Extreme have shown themselves to be very good students of the game, and are poised for a breakout in 2014.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Made of Stone”, “Sorry”, “Apocalypse”, “Did It Again”, “Blown Away”