Online since August 2002

Hard rock meets punk

Reviewed November 2009

I Was Young, It Was Dark
I Was Young, It Was Dark
By Modern Rifles

Self-released: 2009

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).

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