Thursday, November 4, 2010

Album Review: "Transmission" EP by Rogue Sounds

Band: Rogue Sounds
Album: Transmission

Personnel: Dillon Geidt - Guitar
Justin Whisler - Drums
Zac Neuenfeldt - Bass

Released: July 2010

Produced, Tracked & Mixed by: Eric Mileham

Recorded at Noise Pollution Studios

Mastered by: Ed Brooks



1.Decibel 06:19
2.Virtue 02:45
3.Vice 03:54
4.Transmission 07:12

Houston, we have a problem. Don't worry, Rogue Sounds, the Orange County-based instrumental 3 piece Rock Band, are here to save the day. Rogue Sounds' first EP "Transmission" sonically documents what it would be like to be on Apollo 13 spinning out of control in space with no hope of ever returning home - and all the stress and adventures that come along with such a plight.

"Decibel," the lead-off track on the EP, starts with engine noises and distress signals. The main guitar riff comes in and the rest of the band follows almost immediately. The record has a good sound quality and is mixed well. The band moves effortlessly through segues as they build a soundscape of sci-fi images. The bass sound is full and thumping along with the drums. There is a part in the break down where the drums remind me of Black Sabbath's Iron Man. The electric guitar is swirling and churning power riffs. Is this is what an instrumental indie progressive metal band sounds like? If so, it's pretty cool. It seems like an effort of combining different elements of music, but holding on to certain themes.

What Rogue Sounds are doing is somewhat original and challenging, because they are taking on a the challenge of instrumental metal and putting an indie slant on it. Can this be entertaining? Yes and no. I feel that it can be, but just like with any music, if it becomes too repetitive and mundane, it will become boring. There have to be elements of change and dynamics that will keep the listener interested. After a while "Decibel" starts to fatigue the listener. It's got great ideas, but it's kinda long.

"Virtue," second song on "Transmission," starts with sounds of waves crashing onto the shores of a red planet far from any human existence. The album starts to get funky with this track and things start to get interesting. Going from spare sounds to deep reverbed-out industrial sound. It keeps the listeners attention. It becomes unpredictable and you wonder where it's going next. This kinda stuff I like. So far best track.

"Vice" is the next track. It has an intro of palm-muted picked guitars. Not sure what direction they are going with this song, but it sounds like a soundtrack to a dark chase through alley ways and maybe a demented take on the theme song of Miami Vice combined with the theme song of Knight Rider. This track seems like it has the least direction on the album. I feel like I just get lost in the twists and turns of this song. Like by the end you don't know where you are.

"Transmission" the title track off the album comes in with blips and glitches like something out of an Aliens movie. A strange voice sounding instrument sneaks out from behind the buzz of noise for a second like prawns hiding under the floor boards in District 9. The build up is good. The drums come in first with a heavy beat on the floor tom and then the whole band joins. It gets heavy at 1:25 into the song. The guitar swells and falls out. This is an epic piece of work, reminds me a little of "...And you will know us by the Trail of the Dead."

Overall, Rogue Sounds needs to be careful with the long jams. They walk the fine line between senseless jamming and something meaningful. Most of the time though just when they are about to fall off, they bring it back.

The "Transmission" EP has some memorable riffs. All the players in Rogue Sounds are accomplished musicians. You can tell that that they are experimenting with their sound and have room to grow. I look forward to hear what they sound like on their next outing. If they stick with it, they have plenty of years ahead of them. If they stick with it. - A. Polk

Rogue Sounds are giving away their album for free at their bandcamp. You should download it and put it on while your working at your RPG bookstore or at your local record shop.

Rating Key
1 POLK- Don’t Bother
2 POLKs- Give it a listen or two
3 POLKs - Make part of your daily routine
4 POLKs - Must Own, Buy, Illegally Download NOW!
5 POLKs - Don’t tell anyone about it (it’s your personal treasure)