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Hard Side: Blackmaker - Staggering to the Surface
By Brad Podray

Blackmaker has released an album that makes the listener feel as if their sneakers should be traded in for black boots and that their last paycheck is probably going to be spent on covering bodily damage which will be taken at a bar fight.  In other words, they are a modern hard rock band that doesn’t suck.  Absent are the mindless lyrics of bands like Three Days Grace.  Thankfully gone is the musical ineptitude of bands like Saliva and Nickelback.  Although “Staggering to the Surface” exhibits the hard rock formula(soft guitar/bass over the verse, then distorted guitar over the chorus), it’s restrained in a way that makes the CD surprisingly bearable and enjoyable.  Track 3’s “Spiraling,” for example, has almost a punk-ish energy combined with the sentimentality of hard rock.  

Two things that make this album at least a little bit more interesting than other albums of this genre are Blackmaker’s decision to use innovative songwriting tactics and their slight hint of synthetic effects. Filtered drums and vocal manipulations add to the thickness of the sound without making the emotions of the songs seem fake.  

“Wicked Tongue” in particular has an odd, upbeat style seldom seen in bands that claim to be “hard rock.”  There’s a gritty nature to the album that rides along the same vein as greats such as Motorhead(but lets not go too far here…Blackmaker is no Motorhead, but “Staggering to the Surface” has a sound that is several miles closer to Motorhead’s sound than the awful rock heard on generic popular radio station).  This album serves a healthy helping of modern rock, served with a side of clever innovation and good songwriting.  While it’s not going to revolutionize the way music is written, it’s several heads above a lot of what you’ve been listening to…especially if you’re a Nickelback fan.

Sure to please: Anyone who says they like hard rock.

Sure to disappoint: Generic hard rock bands, Motorhead (but lets face it…who can honestly please Motorhead?)

CD Info 

Blackmaker - Staggering to the Surface
Label: Kentland Records
Good Day
Let It Go
All About a Girl
Wicked Tongue
Not Impressed
Things Get Any Worse
Still Waiting
Crying Out Loud
Few and Far Between
Listen to samples and Purchase this CD online

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