"Hope in Anguish" (Floodgate Records; LLC; 2003)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

East West had been drilling their brand of Christian alternative/nu-metal/rapcore sound since 1993 but they stopped in 2003 with this disc. It was not embraced by their fans, who stated that the band had lost their edge. A lot of people also complained that there weren't as many Christian songs as before. This CD doesn't sound like "The Light in Guinevere's Garden" that's for sure but it's still got some kick to it. I'll wring out the best cuts and list them at the end.

If you want heavy then you'll get it with "Hope in Anguish." My initial listen had me switching between writing this review and listening to the intro to each song. A monstrous start always gets your attention and when it keeps driving home the same power I can dig it. Sometimes a song will slow down but it's not all the way to a whisper, it's more to build the song back up. The guitar and bass are solid and the drums power along. The vocals are melodic and harmonious but Mike Tubbs can also growl out an angry verse when he wants to.

You can hear some Tool influences on a few songs, mainly the ones that slow down for a bit. The guitar solos, when present, are beefy and tough. No high string bending here, just straight to the gut down tuned badness. I'll admit it's different sounding but if a band just did the same thing all the time people would complain about that too.

Their website seems to be inactive. I guess they really did call it quits to spend more time with their families -- nobody on their death bed ever said they should have spent more time at the office.

Download these: "Dwell," "Seven," "Brutally Wrong," and "Envy."

East West: Mike Tubbs - vocals; Mike "House" Housen - guitar; James "JJ" Jenkins - bass; Bobby Vengura - drums.

"The Light in Guinevere's Garden" (Sony; 2001)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

East West have bands like P.O.D. and Project 86 to draw inspiration from but they also have bands like Staind and Puddle Of Mudd to tug on when their sound needs identifying. The start of this disc grows into a full-on battle for your senses. On one hand you have Mike Tubbs singing and screaming his lungs out and, on the other, you have Mike “House” Housen and James “JJ” Jenkins combining guitar and bass to displace your organs if you get too close to your speakers. Then ... on both hands ... you have Bobby Vengura beating his drums hard enough to stop your outdated Swatch.

These guys have an alternative edge to them, plus they have a melodic heavy metal style, too. Being labeled under Christian hardcore, they have that fist-raised fan always wanting more. They took a break after their 2003 CD entitled “Hope In Anguish” and haven’t released anything since deciding instead to take a long break and spend some time with their families.

I own a handful of hardcore CDs and this one hangs like an air freshener when I’m not playing it. The music on this CD offers something different with each song. It may begin with an odd intro or a spoken word ... sometimes it even slows down to sound a little like U2. The point is that it may be a few years old but the array of choices keeps "The Light in Guinevere's Garden" fresh with each listen.

East West: Mike Tubbs - vocals; Mike "House" Housen - guitar; James "JJ" Jenkins - bass; Bobby Vengura - drums.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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