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Articles Home » 2004 Articles » Uncle Sid - 2004 Rock In The Universe
Uncle Sid - 2004 Rock In The Universe

ARTIST: Uncle Sid
ALBUM: Rock In The Universe
LABEL: Self Releasd
YEAR: 2004


LINEUP: Wolf - vocals * Henry Seto - guitars, bass * Dale Salive - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Break N Free * 02 Dance For Me * 03 Phoenix Rising * 04 Dream Machine * 05 Time * 06 Let Me Go * 07 Inside The Fire * 08 Rock n Roll * 09 Believe It

A long eleven years into their career and Uncle Sid have finally released their first full length album. The Canadian trio first came together in Vancouver in 1993, quickly becoming purveyors of classic hard rock, trying to reclaim the spirit of the genre that existed until it's demise shortly before Uncle Sid's formation. The only other recorded work from the band according to their bio is a 1994 EP named 'Up 'N Atom'. The band plays up their support slots for notable acts like Uriah Heep, April Wine, Blue Oyster Cult and Nazareth, which are credible acts to be associated with. 'Rock In The Universe' sees Uncle Sid trying their best to emulate such classic acts, with minimal results, lacking the dynamics which epitomized the bands they seek to follow, an overall lack of heaviness the main offence.

The Songs
'Break 'N Free' leads things off and might be the choice selection of the album. Competent riffing and 'rock is our life' type lyrics make up for Wolf's vocals which lack the power that goes with this brand of rock. US take an excursion into party rock with 'Dance For Me', the chorus catchy but strangely unlovable. You'd have to hear it, Wolf pounding the title home in shrieking fashion that comes off as forced. AC/DC riffs open 'Phoenix Rising', the comparison ending there, as the thin sound hits home, the lack of anything resembling a wall of noise leaving the band exposed. 'Dream Machine' is Foreigner's 'Feels Like The First Time' in disguise, while 'Time' could be 1985 period Dokken, not highly recommended unfortunately. 'Let Me Go' is the inevitable ballad and at seven minutes plus a long haul, especially as the band forgot to pack anything worthwhile into the timeframe. 'Inside The Fire' slightly raises the heaviness, but is remarkably unconvincing, far from blowaway material, drab riffs and the 'desire-fire' lyric combo a fizzer. 'Rock 'N' Roll' is designed ostensibly to be an anthem, but doesn't have any simplicity in the melody, hardly unifying in the process. I prefer 'Believe It' to all that went before due to the use of keyboards in the hook, which give it AOR credibility, but Wolf's vocals are so exposed by the production it damages the goods.

In Summary
I'm stunned by how tame this ended up. For a band professing classic rock ideals Uncle Sid need to toughen up their sound to gain any respect. Wolf's vocals are often louder than the instrumental side of the band, his wailing power metal styled delivery far from ideal for hard rock. It's unfortunate as their hearts are in the right place trying to produce the kind of music that is lacking quality in todays rock climate. Until they increase their production values it will be a struggle, and sadly it leads me to view this as a nice try but one that tries too hard to convince the listener of Uncle Sid's staunch belief in rock. Judging by Wolf's photo in the press kit (decked out in skin tight blue jeans, high top 1988 white trainers and black leather jacket) maybe he'd be better off auditioning for a local thrash band!

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