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by Goth Brooks
Few bands have used the formula of the dual lead vocalist line-up to as powerful an effect as Rap-Core upstarts SHUVEL have since their inception.  There have been only two other dual vocalist bands worthy of mention in my book thus far.  These two bands being Phunk Junkeez, and Shootyz Groove.  SHUVEL has a lot more going on by way of sound and the use of the two vocalists in the band than these two bands put together.  SHUVEL has a sound that’s very fresh, hard edge, and aggro-intense, and their thirteen song Interscope records debut SET IT OFF is justifiable proof to all the hype.

Former co-workers Isaac Ayala and Jeff Hollinger decided to form a band.  First they got Jeff’s younger brother Kyle Hollinger to play drums, next they recruited guitarist Ryan Stuber from another local band, bassist Carlos Sandoval then stepped up and joined, and SHUVEL was complete.  The band worked hard and after numerous jams they had a set of songs.  The band cut their teeth on their local circuit and garnered equal amounts of fan devotion, and jealousy, which inspired the right-back-at-ya “Hitlist” off of SET IT OFF.  It was now time for the band to take the next logical step and leave Witchita, Kansas.  Vocalist Jeff Hollinger states that leaving home was a matter of taking the music seriously. The band said, “If this is what we want to do, let’s do it now.  They left Kansas behind and headed west, landing themselves in Phoenix, Arizona.  It was there that they played live four nights a week for six months straight before moving on to Los Angeles.  SHUVEL was blowing the roof off a house party in San Pedro where they met a stripper who knew an artist relations agent from Interscope records.  The stripper proved to be the hook-up the band needed and soon SHUVEL was in the studio with producer Scott Ralston laying down SET IT OFF’s thirteen stunning tracks. 

SET IT OFF employs elements of hip-hop, metal guitars, challenging and insightful lyrics, and plenty of hardcore attitude to assault the listeners’ senses.  When you get past the fact that vocalists Isaac Ayala and Jeff Hollinger sound similar to each other and eerily like Zack De La Rocha (well, on the beginning of the title track at least), you can get up off your ass and go off on this.  I’d originally mistaken this for political rap-core because of the similarities of both these vocalists voice to that of Zack, and the political subject matter of RATM material.  But upon closer listening to SET IT OFF, it’s evident that SHUVEL’s lyrics are steeped deeply in social issues and social politics, but most definitely not the government kind.  Sure, there’s reference to the Columbine tragedy on the title track, but the genius of SHUVEL is to not beat the subject into the ground.  They have a knack for doing this thing where the lyrics make you aware and make you think about what’s wrong with the state of the world, without boring you with pointless rants.  So, if your life is lacking that excitement you so desperately crave, get your issue of SHUVEL and see what kind of trouble it inspires you to get into.  You won’t be bored, I promise you that.

The Band

Isaac Ayala – Vocals
Jeff Hollinger – Vocals
Kyle Hollinger – Drums
Carlos Sandoval – Bass
Ryan Stuber – Guitars

Want more?

Visit the official web site for a free MP3 of Set it Off! 

Listen to sound clips and Purchase the CD online

Photos courtesy of Interscope Records. All Rights Reserved by Copyright holder.


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