Event - 2003 Scratching At The Surface

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ARTIST: Event
ALBUM: Scratching At The Surface
LABEL: Inside Out
SERIAL: IOMCD 118
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Dave Deluco - vocals * Shaun Michaud - guitars * Jay Rigney - bass * Matt Scurfield - drums

TRACK LISTING: Make Your Way * 02 Under My Skin * 03 Someone * 04 One Simple Fall * 05 Live Life Love Breed * 06 Scratching At The Surface * 07 Won't Come Loose * 08 Siren * 09 Into The Fray * 10 All Too Real * 11 It Makes Me Me * 12 Pleasure In The Pain * 13 Too Much

Background

We hear a lot of music here at Glory Daze, so it's always a pleasure when something comes to our attention which is just a little different. This release by Event - their third - is definitely one which falls into that category. Moving ever further away from their progressive metal roots, they've created an album which is very diverse.

The Songs

Upon first listen, I was literally knocked sideways by the opening track 'Make Your Way'. As the huge guitar riff tore out of my speakers, I was unsure how melodic this album would be. Huge riffs coupled with slight Nine Inch Nails vocal treatments may not seem like Glory Daze's usual bag of tricks, but this is definitely one of those albums which requires a few plays before the melodic elements begin to kick in.

After a few listens it makes far more sense and isn't as harsh as it first seems. An obvious reference point would be Nuno Bettencourt's 'Schizophonic' album - twisted and inventive, but at the same time compelling and strangely melodic.

'Under My Skin' may have been a better starting point, as its melodic qualities are far more obvious. It has a sound obviously influenced by King's X (especially during their dark 'Dogman' period). Although Dave Deluco's vocals are in no way plagurised from Doug Pinnick or Ty Tabor, there's no avoiding the influence in the harmony vocals on the chorus.

'Someone' also has shades of King's X (hey, no complaints here, I really dig that sound), but the overall arrangement is different to that of 'Under My Skin' as it has very strong semi-acoustic roots. The title track showcases more of the band's electronic edge and for me comes across as one of the album's weaker moments, but luckily 'Won't Come Loose' and 'Siren' both make up for that.

'Won't Come Loose' is a monster, where the band manage to squeeze 90% of their influences into just over four minutes. The stops are obviously a throwback to the band's prog-metal days, the treated vocals show obvious alternative leanings and the solid guitar work is reminiscent of bands like Doubledrive, classy melodic metal with an alternative edge.

'Siren' is another of the strongest tracks for the completely opposite reason: it has no vocal or musical treatments to speak of and (most importantly) it has a very strong chorus. Some of the previous influences are still present, but this time, they seem less obvious, allowing Event's 'own' sound and talents to come through.

'Into The Fray' is, again, in the melodic alternative field, but has a great mid-section featuring some great lead acoustic work. Unless I'm very much mistaken, this is the first guitar 'solo' on the album. Unlike so many other bands, Event don't feel the need for extensive soloing to get their music across. Choosing to focus more on riffs and vocal arrangements is something which works very well for them and there's no unnecessary filler material here, all songs clock in at under five minutes.

'All Too Real' has a heavy chug (always welcome, in my opinion), similar to Warrant during their much maligned and under-rated 'Ultraphobic' and 'Belly To Belly Part 1' phase. Closing the album, the time signature of 'Too Much' is very off-kilter and their choice of hard riff should never have been coupled with three-part harmony vocals, but this is just another example of how Event are a band whom are unafraid of experimentation in order to break down musical barriers.

In Summary

I could never tell you that this album is melodic in the conventional (and pure) sense of the word, as it is quite challenging and is probably not going to appeal to some of you. However, I know some of you out there will absolutely love it. It's one of those albums which gets better after repeated listens, so patience is its own reward. As Pain Of Salvation have often proved, melodies can be found in the most unlikely of places.


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