On Top [USA]
Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
On Top‘s debut full length album, Top Heavy features a cleavage-baring woman in the foreground, leaving me with an almost negative first impression, and the band name and album title didn’t do much to help either. While bands like Edguy tend to feature over-the-top sex-related jokes, they do so in a more subtle way (in terms of artwork), and hence this leaves me slightly hesitant in checking the music out.
Top Heavy surprises me then as the album opens with the title track, and instantly displays the flamboyant guitar works of guitarist Alex Kulick, before breaking into a hard rock/heavy metal riff, that while cheesy, is admittedly extremely catchy, dispelling all prior bad impressions. Jaron Gulino’s vocals have a somewhat thrash metal feel to them, sounding somewhat like Municipal Waste‘s Tony Foresta. The thrash metal/crossover feel in the music shines more with the usage of background shouting vocals as well, though for the most part the music here has a more old-school heavy metal attitude, with the mid-pace that the band tends to travel at. Alex gets lots of air time on the album with the large amounts of time dedicated for him to display his prowess on the guitar, perfectly balancing speed, precision and melody, making the guitar solos some of the personal highlights on the album.
Unfortunately, the band at times falter in the songwriting department, with the main gripe being the speed that the band goes at on some of the songs. For example, Into the Night travels way to slowly, and for the five-and-a-half minute track, it tends to get slightly monotonous with the repetitive riffs as the song progresses, with the saving grace being Alex’s guitar solo. Shorter and faster songs like Sleepless on the other hand shine, with the old-school thrashy and straightforward attitude simply reeking and overflowing out of the band, and are perfect tracks to headbang to along with a couple of beers. The rock ‘n’ roll influence in the band’s music is further shown on the lead guitar lines on tracks like Sick and Tired.
The band’s fun-loving attitude is evident through the themes that the band sticks to, ranging from the ranting of everyday life (Sick and Tired) to simply having fun (Another Night of Sleaze). While the songs that are written are not particularly memorable, Top Heavy is certainly a fun record to dance to once in awhile, and is definitely not a suitable one for those who are looking for some serious, heavy metal.