Hard rock meets punk
Reviewed November 2009
I Was Young, It Was Dark
By Modern Rifles
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing the band's Web site.
Just months after releasing this, their self-released debut, San Diego's hard-charging Modern Rifles are calling it quits. And that's a shame, because the brash, swaggering rock found here is a nice cross between the dissonance of punk or industrial and the muscular, guitar-driven melodicism of metal or '70s revivalist bands.
And it's a true mixing while the music never gets so atonal that you can't listen (there's always a hint of melody even in their most manic playing), there's also no chance whatsoever of a pop song breaking out. While the twin guitars of Dan Deaton and Jon Fong are always urgent, sometimes frantic, more punkish than guitar hero, there's also always a sense that they're absolutely in control. Drummer Brian Garbark and bassist Daryl Thompson lay down a beat that's closer to old-school hard rock (think Judas Priest or early Van Halen) than anything else the rhythm is constantly driving, giving the guitarists and vocals a solid foundation.
But that vintage hard-rock beat wed to the alt and punk melodies and vocals makes for a different sound, one that's nearly hypnotic and very accessible. Good stuff, and easy to see how it was a finalist for Best Hard Rock Album in this year's San Diego Music Awards.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).