Note to self.
For the millionth time, read the supporting material on these things before sitting down to write reviews.
You see, Who On Earth, released this a week or two back and I’ve been listening to it off and on in that time.
I thought I’d been dead clever in thinking that they sounded like Adrenaline Mob, and was preparing to say they were muscular and testosterone fuelled just like Portnoy and Russell Allen’s outfit were. Then I pull this out to get the band names and find Mike Orlando from AM has produced “Blame” – so they probably know all this already.
However, in for a penny and all that, and I defy anyone to listen to the brilliant “Black Swan” here and come to any other conclusion than to think all I said above.
Who On Earth, though, deserve better, because their story is better than that. Coosh, the singer and bassist Pete Rizzi had been playing in covers bands for years. In 2021, they decided to write some original material. Good for them, because this really is an assured, classy thing.
“The Price” opens things in a sort of quasi-thrash way, but then by the second verse, we’ve got the sort of bombast that’s usually the preserve of Hammerfall – and thrash drummer Joe D’Aqui is on the kit here, which makes them heavier than normal.
“H8-Triarch” is another where you can pick out the influences, but not the way they are used. It’s like they’ve got some Jerry Cantrell riffs, stuck them in a blender with Metallica and a pinch of Tool, and added Coosh’s powerful vocals into the mix. It really is quite something.
It also sounds like Coosh is using their debut to settle some scores, too. These are not “maybe, baby, lets party” words. No, on “Down And Out” he “couldn’t breathe and was wracked with fear”. Whatever place these words come from wasn’t – maybe isn’t? – fun.
The closest we get to a ballad, “Unbeaten” is another with traces of AIC. It’s balanced out with the choppy, almost Prong riffs of “We Don’t Belong”, while it’s “Set Me Free” that really takes you into a maelstrom of emotion. We are catapulted straight into a domestic and you can only assume that these relationship issues are deep and carry real scars. Whatever, it merely underlines the originality to these songs.
Bruce Gatewood, who plays guitar here (Orlando is listed as “stunt/guest guitar” excels throughout, but never more so than when he gives it his best Kirk Hammett on “Monster In A Jar” – perhaps along with “…Swan” the album’s high point.
They save the two longest cuts (and you can bet these are the type of band that refer to music as “cuts” too). “On The Brink” is the blue collar one. The one that deals with the everyday in 2023, and “Watch The Fires Burn” deals with the wider world, climate change, the coming apocalypse, call it what you will. It’s ominous tone is perfect for doomsday.
Elsewhere on the supporting document that I definitely did read (call the intro “based on a true story”) Coosh says that on “Blame: “We have gone back to what we grew up on. It’s still valuable and relevant. It can’t die.”
He’s right too. I grew up with another hard rock band from New Jersey – they even had an album named after their home state. Their singer was 61 yesterday. Oh, and they wouldn’t be able to hit anything anywhere near this good, this relevant or this fresh if you gave them a baseball bat. Who On Earth, on the other hand, just smashed their debut album for a home run and then some.
Link to article here: