Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Adema :: Kill The Headlights

Artist :: Adema
Album :: Kill the Headlights
Label :: Immortal

Play this cut first :: Brand New Thing (featured below)

Ah, nu metal: the music industry's whipping boy. Sure, it's predictable that the pioneers like Korn and Deftones would still be thriving, selling good numbers, pulling good-size crowds. Most first-tier bands do. (Pearl Jam, anyone?). It's those second-generation bands that have their work cut out for them. And, to be honest, the music graveyard is full of more than its share of second-tier nu-metal bands.

Enter Adema. Originally breaking onto the scene in 2001, they were initially known for their vocalist, Mark Chavez, being Jonathan Davis's younger half-brother. Now, in 2007, Kill the Headlights is their fourth album...with a third singer: Bobby Reeves.

And this time, I think they've got it right.

Bobby Reeves's voice isn't going to make him the next American Idol, (and I don't think he minds). Sure, he can carry a tune. It's the other things that he does, however, that make him the perfect vocalist for Adema. Bobby has a knack for writing great vocal melodies. I'm talking about those melodies that aren't predictable at all, but are still very memorable. Lyrically, he pulls his weight as well. Sings become stories (e.g., "Open Til Midnight"). And for a band like Adema that has always been cautious to write material that is song-oriented, rather than just a collection of riffs strung together, Reeves style works perfectly.

That's not to say they've given up on those big crunchy detuned riffs that nu-metal is known for. The first single, "Cold and Jaded", as well as the title track, "Kill the Headlights" are loaded with them. We're talking big fierce ones, too. But there is a greater sense of balance across the board. They show tremendous range and growth on Kill the Headlights. It has taken them four albums, but they show they can really use every trick in the playbook. Some might say their the captains of a sunken ship, but this is a great album nonetheless.

Basically, Kill the Headlights is a great collection of songs. Will they win a Grammy? Probably not. But they should sell more copies of this record than they likely will. And that's a shame. In age when the industry is built on the "get a hit or get out" mentality, it is rare that some bands really get the opportunity to grow into their potential. Adema is doing that. And I hope there is still enough audience left to appreciate this solid rock album.

Best cuts on the album :: Brand New Thing, Kill the Headlights, Cold and Jaded, Open Til Midnight

The Bottom Line :: This could be the sleeper rock album of 2007. With great songs that get the blood flowing, yet you can still sing along to, there's no reason not to listen to it over and over again.

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