Released: August 17, 2010
Kansas City quintet Red Line Chemistry has just released their debut CD, Dying for a Living, and it’s definitely one of the best hard rock/metal records of the year. The band’s been playing around the midwest since 2005, and has developed quite the following in the Kansas City area, playing to large festival crowds alongside acts such as Sevendust, Shinedown, Buckcherry, and Drowning Pool. After listening to this CD, I can hear why, even as an unsigned act, they were welcomed onto such events. This isn’t just an 11-song collection of tracks; it’s an album that you can listen to from start to finish without wanting to skip a single track.
The music is good, old-fashioned hard-driving rock with a modern enough sound to entice younger and older rock fans alike. Vocalist Brett Ditgen and lead guitarist Andy Breit, along with the rest of the band; Tom Brown (bass), Dave Fyten (guitar) and Mike Mazzarese (drums), have created one of the best debut albums I’ve seen come out in years. Vocally, Brett reminds me of a cross between Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) and fellow Kansas City alum, Wes Scantlin (Puddle of Mudd), but with enough of his own style so that you’ll always know it’s him. Musically, it’s hard to pigeonhole these guys. Picture something between AIC, 3 Doors Down and Godsmack on the heaviness scale, but leaning towards a more classic, melodic hard rock style.
The album kicks off with the fade-in of “Vicious Cycles,” which cranks into a massive rocker about how we’re all in a vicious cycle, making the same mistakes over and over again. The track has an early 80’s UFO, Wild Willing and the Innocent vibe on the lead in, before cranking into something melodic and modern.
The lead single, “Dumb Luck”, has a great feel…crunchy guitars, melodic leads, and is a good mid-tempo rocker, which the band says is open to interpretation by the listener. For them, the song’s about how everyone has to choose their own path in moving forward in life.
Next up is the moody groove and grinder of self-enlightenment, “Fire Rising,” which brings to mind the best work of The Cult.
I was also happy to see the track “Deja Vu”, from their “Escape Plan” EP re-recorded for this album. A very cool track which would fit on any rock station. Though the CD is mostly mid-tempo and fast-paced rockers, the melodic intro to “Plastic Masquerade” shows off the band’s musical abilities, especially those of lead guitarist Breit. The leads on this track are reminiscent of guitarists such as Michael Schenker, Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy/21 Guns), and others of the classic hard rock era.
“Johnny Comes Alive,” rolls out with a very New Wave of British Heavy Metal guitar lick, before launching headlong into one of the album’s fastest movers. There’s a bit of a ‘Fast’ Eddie Clark, Motörhead feel to this one, which blends nicely into the next track, “Speed.”
The biggest surprise on the CD is the closing track, “So Many Days”, an acoustic number on which vocalist Brett Ditgen truly shines. The cool thing about this track is that it’s very much up for interpretation…It could be about the band finally making it, or a rocky relationship finally pulling through and surviving.
In closing, if you’re craving an excellently crafted rock record, this is the one you want. I think these guys will be around, giving us great music, for years to come.
For more information on Red Line Chemistry, including tour dates, visit http://www.redlinechemistry.com