AFTERMATH - NATURAL DESTRUCTION (2003, ESCAPE MUSIC, ESM 087)
Joey Dia - vocals, bass
Bill DeNapoli - guitars
Marc Chandler - drums
Andy Kadin - keyboards
Aftermath were previously featured on this site for those of you who may have missed it, and their first album 'Natural Destruction' is the culmination of eight years hard work for these New Jersey hard rockers. With a background comprised mainly of 80's rock influences, Aftermath have carried this over into their debut, with a set that manages to sound contemporary, while still catering to followers of the 80's hard rock scene. This is due to an excellent production, exemplary for a release on a minor label. Dia and Kadin were the founders of Aftermath, having played together for some time prior to this project, one of their previous bands being Open Fire
, easy to see where they are coming from with a moniker like that.
Highlighting opener 'It's Not Real' are some solid riffs from DeNapoli aided by some synth interludes with a nice mid 80's touch. Dia's vocals are of the higher pitch range, something I'm not exactly enamoured with, at times it can overshadow the effect of the overall sound. 'Ain't No Pretty Love Song' is an admittedly trite song title with a typically shout-it-out chorus you may have heard every 80's hard rocker plunder during that decade. This fairly tried and tested formula is furthered by 'For Being You' which sees Dia mimicking Gene Simmons
vocal style at the outset, let down by some tired lyrics about working nine to five and trying to break into the big time of rock and roll. I just feel I've heard it all before. The saving grace is a neat synth solo tangent, followed by a melodic solo from DeNapoli. The inevitable heartbreaker arrives with 'Loving You', big on harmonies, some of which recall REO Speedwagon
. 'Rich Get Richer' resumes heavy service, a brazen chorus that evokes Skid Row
, even Danger Danger
. The synth-guitar interplay is on overload here. 'E Z Living'(how's that for a retro title) tinkers with a bad boy on the fringe theme, with a hook barely indistinguishable from previous tracks. A jazzy, horn break makes for an offbeat moment near the end for consolation. Another power ballad soon rears itself, 'Behind These Eyes', with a fair dose of acoustic work before cruising into 'heavy' ballad mode when some crashing riffs takes over the show. 'Tired' (must resist a pun...) and 'Better Days' are by-the-numbers rockers, and there's still room for another ballad, closer 'Pain Of The Memory'.
Credit to Aftermath for sticking to a much maligned form of rock. It takes great determination to persist with a style most won't give the time of day. When the results are routine however it's understandable why this is often the case, as is Aftermath's problem. The musicianship is stellar, a talented group for certain, but this form of hard rock has been done to death, and when the results just don't match up to the artists they are seeking to emulate (Poison
, Bon Jovi
, apparently) it comes off rather generic and formularised. Aftermath's main asset is their heavy use of keyboards, more glaring than many before them, and DeNapoli's powerful riff attack. With a more original approach, who knows? At heart however, any fan of melodic hard rock will eat this up, perhaps..
01 It's Not Real
02 Ain't No Pretty Love Song
03 For Being You
04 Loving You
05 Rich Gets Richer
06 E Z Living
07 You're The One
08 Behind These Eyes
09 Better Days
11 Pain Of The Memory
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