Release Date: March 22, 2011
The long awaited day has arrived. Today, Knoxville, Tennessee based Straight Line Stitch released The Fight of Our Lives (eOne/Raging Nation Records), the follow-up to their 2008 album, When Skies Wash Ashore. The Fight of Our Lives is the band’s third full length album and it was masterfully produced and mixed by Grammy nominated Johnny K (Sevendust, Disturbed, Staind) with additional work by Ben Schigel (Chimaira, Drowning Pool).
Straight Line Stitch members Alexis Brown (vocals), Seth Thacker (guitar), Jason White (bass), and Kanky Lora (drums) are up in your face on this record. Right out of the gate you are punched in the gut with “Tear Down the Sky”– intense, aggressive and one hell of a way to get your heart racing. This song should have a disclaimer: “Driver Beware- may cause a massive increase in speed while driving”, because it definitely pumps you up.
The intensity remains high with their next track, “Conversion”, a song Alexis explains is about shedding your own skin. “Conversion”, which is the album’s first single, is an infectious romp that is a perfect mix of screaming, growling and straight forward clean vocals against a heavy back end and crunchy guitars. The video for the song features the band’s newest member, guitarist Kris Norris (Darkest Hour) who replaces Pat Pattison.
The album’s third track, “Laughing In The Rearview” is set to be the CD’s second single and video. If the song’s melodic intro causes you to drop your guard, expect to catch a right cross to the chin when the barrage hits you. This track perfectly illustrates the band’s growth, and how they are further mastering their ability to write brutal songs that flow with high-energy and melody.
Just when you think this CD is going to be all ferocity, the song “Cold Front” presents itself. In contrast to the first few tracks’ forcefulness, “Cold Front” holds the intensity just below the surface and releases it slowly, deliberately, presenting a well-timed change of pace. I believe a CD should be a journey, with hills and valleys, highs and lows and if there is an emotion to feel or express, you will experience it on this CD.
After the band takes it down a notch, Alexis and Co. come at you full-speed again with the tracks “No Tomorrow” and “Bar Room Brawl.” Seriously, you didn’t think you were going to get away that easy did you? Get that energy up…I said UP! “Bar Room Brawl” not only has powerful vocals, but it has hard-edged guitar work, pounding bass and drumming that is going tear your heart out of your chest and slam it back in again.
So are you pumped up again? Yes you are, but now you get the sexy rasp of Alexis on “One Reason”. I believe this song is going to make more than a few people melt right into the floor; it brings you sultry decadence and leaves you begging for more. Just when Alexis releases her inner sex kitten the next song, “Never Surrender” opens the listener to her vulnerable side. This is a kitchen sink song, it’s got everything; a great guitar riff, thunderous bass, excellent stick-work and lots of grit, grind, and melody. If this song doesn’t become a single, I will be disappointed. It is completely radio friendly with no aftertaste of selling out to get radio play; all I hear is a band growing and in a completely positive way.
“Sound Of Silence” is anything but. It’s loud and brash, and a pure sonic thrash and growl beat down. While “Living Dead,” is a punchy groovefest which shows off the more soulful side of Alexis.
The CD closes out with the haunting “Ashes in the Wind,” another song that would be perfect as a single. You really get to hear Alexis’ vocal range and the musical arrangement and performances pull at the center of your soul and lift you up beyond where you expected to go on a SLS album. You feel like you are part of the story, you relate, you understand that yes we are all ashes in the wind and no matter how far you fall, there is always the possibility of rising up, of redemption. Straight Line Stitch has been to hell and back and they have fought hard to get as far as they have, but they are ready for the next level. And make no mistake, they are ready.
For those who wisely pick up the iTunes Deluxe edition of The Fight Of Our Lives you’ll be rewarded with two bonus tracks. Both songs are excellent editions. “Without You” is arguably the most melodic track on the record. No real growling here, just Alexis showing off her celestial side, on a track, like so many others on this record that is radio ready. “When This Life Is Over (Distant Light)” actually mixes in a slightly punk vibe, without straying too far from the classic SLS sound.
So let’s sum up with some final thoughts about this CD: The production quality is fantastic and I get the feeling that this band was pushed as hard as they possibly could be and totally taken to the edge, then brought back and what we have is one phenomenal product. This should come as no surprise given Johnny K’s legendary intensity and hardcore recording processes. Not only are the songs top notch, but the sound quality is the best SLS has ever had. Alexis’ vocals, the bands overall musicality and song writing skills have improved by leaps and bounds and I believe SLS is in a position to break out into the mainstream music scene. Expect 2011 to be the year of The Stitch.
After a few line-up changes and a huge amount of musical growth this band has come a long way since their 2001 CD The Barker. I am completely blown away by the vast vocal improvement of Alexis and after thinking back to the first time I heard these guys live to what they have grown into; it is like night and day. Whatever this band is doing, they need to stick with it in my opinion. SLS shows that perseverance, dedication, talent, hard work and a fighting spirit can take you places you never thought you could go. This band has battled hard, they can’t stop now and I believe The Fight of Our Lives is a journey well worth taking and you should most certainly go pick up this CD. Straight Line Stitch is coming for you and no one can save you now.
You can catch Straight Line Stitch out on the road pretty much everywhere, I am not joking these guys tour relentlessly, but most definitely check them out on the Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock ~ Hell Hath No Fury Tour with In This Moment, System Divide and Sister Sin. Just check out the band’s websites for a date near you.
The Fight of Our Lives is in stores now and also available at iTunes or you can also pick it up online at http://www.allinmerch.com/category/SLS.html