"On The Verge" (Century Media; 1994)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

This 1994 release from this granite heavy outfit failed to make a dent in the collective conscious of the metal world.  I found a copy of it in my local record store and figured I'd give it a spin.  I hear a Southern vibe a la Corrosion Of Conformity in the dense wall of aggression.  Overall, the music is less doomy and less gothic than outfits like Penance (who were their labelmates at the time) but still sludgy.  Graveyard Rodeo are an exercise in cathartic release.

The riffs are good enough, but slow.  When the vocals kick in the riffs get faster, but simpler.  The guitars sound like any hard rock bar band that you might find if you just strolled into a local music joint.

There are no tracks that stand out particularly well, neither are there any tracks that are unbearable to listen to.  The disc has a consistent mediocre keel.

The shouted vocals get a bit weary at times, no matter how suited shouting might be for the lyrics.  The lyrics deal mostly with the angst of someone who is slightly paranoid; a few songs have reaffirming words for someone who is dealing with life's bitter struggles in the best manner possible.

The lead guitar is an interesting mix of typical lead lines and noisy blasts of high-pitched squeals.  The rhythm guitars are thick and "brown" while the bass and drums roll along with enough propulsion to give movement to the songs.

The tunes are blissfully short; the ten tracks clock in at 35 minutes.  However, even the brevity of the songs doesn't save the listener from the lack of originality. I doubt I'll ever play this disc in its entirety again from track one to track ten, but it is good enough to find a home in my CD changer as part of a heavy mix that I'll combine with the likes of "Load"-era Metallica, Nudeswirl, Kyuss, and Accuser.

The production is a bit weak in terms of the mix (not too uncommon for Century Media discs prior to 1995), but overall the sound is fairly decent.   Also, the numbering of the songs on the inner sleeve are incorrect (yet another common problem for Century Media prior to 1995).  This bit of frustration is mostly annoying; it doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of the disc.

Graveyard Rodeo are Mark Brignac on vocals, Jay Gracianette and Gary Gennaro on guitar, Tommy Scanlan on bass, and Gary Hebert on drums.   Graveyard Rodeo hailed from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the band is now defunct.

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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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 19 Sep 2021 21:41:46 -0400.