"Slave to the System" (Spitfire; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

You'd expect nothing less than greatness from a band featuring members of Queensryche and Brother Cane and, on their self-titled debut CD, Slave to the System don't disappoint.

Creating a unique sound that combines the best of classic rock and the best of the more modern sounds of bands like Velvet Revolver, "Slave to the System" will hold your attention throughout all twelve varied but irresistible tracks. From the straight-forward ballad of "Will You Be There" to balls-out rockers like "Stigmata," this CD has it all ... and yet it all sounds like you've never heard before.

Although the musicianship is brilliant throughout (and how could it not be with pedigrees like Queensryche and Brother Cane), the songwriting is one of the brightest stars here. Refusing to conform their music to stay within the lines, the band instead explores virtually every corner of the hard rock sound while never venturing so close as to touch a cliché. Moving smoothly from the aforementioned "Will You Be There," (which crescendos into a fairly strong rocker) into the Santana-like "Leaves" is just one example of Slave to the System and their well-fulfilled desire to do something just a little different ... but still warmly familiar. The last band I remember that did that this well was Soundgarden and that's no faint praise.

The good news is that those looking for the operatic edge of Queensryche or the earthy sound of Brother Cane will find a little of each on "Slave to the System." But, even better, they'll also find much, much more.

Slave to the System: Scott Rockenfield - drums; Damon Johnson - vocals, guitar; Kelly Gray (guitars, vocals); Roman Glick (bass).

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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 © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:20 -0400.