I first heard lead singer Dino Jelusic when he toured with the West Coast cast of TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. The second he opened his mouth at that show I was enthralled and had to know what else he does. That’s when I discovered ANIMAL DRIVE and instantly fell in love. Thanks to the one and only Jeff Scott Soto who introduced them to Frontiers Music, their debut album, Bite! is out now and it is definitely a hard hitter.
The first track, “Goddamn Marathon,” starts off with an interesting intro that soon kicks it into overdrive with heavy, distorted guitar that is quickly joined by the rest of the band. Guitarist Ivan Keller quickly showcases his wild talent going from distorted to sweet licks and a crazy solo throughout. Dino’s gritty, heavy, powerful voice that also has melodic tendencies will have you in awe. He is absolutely a phenomenally talented singer.
“Tower of Lies (I Walk Alone)” is equally as heavy and as powerfully driven as the previous track. Drummer Adrian Boric seems to be pounding the drums with fervor and the chorus makes this one of my favorites on the album. Bringing it down a notch compared to the first two, but still very upbeat and heavy, is “Had Enough.” Dino shows a little more of his melodic, smooth vocal style although still retains much of the grit. This is followed by “Hands of Time,” which is more subdued but still very powerful. It is much more ballad-like and exhibits a great amount of passion.
“Lights of the Damned” brings the heavy drive and energy back up. Ivan’s multiple solos contain many fast, virtuosic elements that further amps up this track. “Time Machine” has a very intriguing beat and speed. The bass, played by Roko Rokindja, helps drive the heavy force of this song very well. The finger-picking intro to “Father” is certainly a different change of pace, while “Fade Away” quickly brings the energy and fire back up to soaring heights. This is definitely a killer tune on this album with another catchy, fierce chorus.
“Carry On” is the last slow down until “Devil Took My Beer Again” and “Deliver Me” crank it back up to finish hard and heavy. “Deliver Me” starts out with a very compelling synthesizer intro until Ivan’s distorted guitar comes and tears it up. Bite! is an out of this world debut for ANIMAL DRIVE that Dino, who is the founder of the band, should be very proud of. I am looking forward to seeing these guys grow because I will definitely be watching to see what comes next from them. If you like a band that is hard, heavy, and very talented, then I have no doubt this band will blow you away.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Tower of Lies (I Walk Alone)”, “Hands of Time”, “Time Machine”, “Fade Away”