Label: Bulldog Productions
Release date: May 14, 2013
The tide is finally turning for my hometown boys, Red Line Chemistry. This month’s release of their newest effort “Tug of War” is already garnering them a swarm of positive attention. “Tug of War” marks the follow-up to their 2006 indy release “Chemical High & a Hand Grenade” and 2011’s “Dying For a Living“.
Red Line Chemistry called in the big guns tapping Grammy Award winner Nick Raskulinecz to produce “Tug of War“. An inspired call. The band had previously worked with him on last year’s recording of “Unspoken”. Raskulinecz has worked with huge artists like Foo Fighters, Stone Sour, and Alice in Chains which fits hand in hand with the sound that Red Line Chemistry was trying to accomplish on this album.
Almost a decade into its existence Red Line Chemistry maintains the same quintet of hard rocking musicians; vocalist Brett Ditgen, bassist Tom Brown, drummer Mike Mazzarese and guitarists Andy Breit and Dave Fyten. What has changed is the maturity of the band’s sound. “Tug of War” marks another spurt of sonic growth for the Red Line Chemistry.
The lead off track, “Black Roses” immediately pulls you into its foreboding grip, and Ditgen wastes no time embracing the shadowy side of his vocal repertoire. It sets the overall tome on what is easily the darkest of the band’s three albums to date. Fyten and Briet are off to an impressively heavy start on this and the title track.
“Paralyzed” is the first single off of the album and is already generating rave reviews on iTunes, YouTube and other social media sites. You can definitely hear the Alice in Chains influence in this joint with a real dirty, deep guitar lead throughout the entire track. Mazzarese is manning the kit hard with this tune too and I think the cymbal crashes are some of the most memorable sounds within the entire song.
“Through the Haze” mixes heavy guitar riffs with melodic lyrics for a Tug of War within itself, ending in a big bang of sounds that will make you want to hit repeat on this track! “Eyes to the Sky” opens up with a heavy guitar groove that makes you want to move your hips and dance, which is great because you don’t get that a lot with some heavier acts like Red Line Chemistry. However, about two minutes into the track you get picked up and the heavier side to the song comes seeping through to make your head bang.
Songs like “Unspoken” and “Suckerpunch” reflect the weighty aggression of the album which counterpoints the more introspective and broody tracks on the record. The entire disc is awash in strong melodies, tight riffs, heavy rhythms and emotive vocals. The band wrote this record as a democracy and expressed that the title, Tug of War was meant to reflect the journey one takes while listening to each track.
“One More Day” is definitely the ballad of the album and has a very new-aged Green Day feel to it and while the lyrics are amazing, I felt like I was constantly waiting for a pickup at some point or some amazing breakdown that never quite arrived. There was a nice guitar solo towards the middle of the track but unfortunately I don’t think it carried enough power or uniqueness to really make the track stand out.
“Fall of Man” has a very earthy feel, and recalls something of a Pink Floyd vibe which segues nicely into an actual Pink Floyd song on the album’s closer, “What Do You Want from Me”. This is my personal favorite on the record. Red Line Chemistry do the legendary band justice with their take on this classic. They rock it up a bit in the beginning, rolling out with the deep, melodic groove you would expect to hear.
Overall, I was really impressed with Tug of War by my hometown boys Red Line Chemistry. You can definitely still hear them trying to find their sound but as a personal owner of all three albums, this is by far their best one and it is chock full of songs for every mood you might be in.