- Freak show
What would happen if you took Skillet, mixed in a little 12 Stones, and added just a trace of Nickleback? From the sounds of their newest Ep, you’d get something like Random Hero. Though not unoriginal or lacking in creativity, RH certainly has that “hey this sounds a bit like” vibe going for them, and for the most part it works pretty well.
Random Hero’s sound is very simply rock. It is not rock plus screamo. It is not rock plus a hint of techno. It isn’t rap-rock. It’s just rock. The thing is, in today’s musical landscape that is almost a revolutionary concept anymore. While most bands are playing on the fringes of (or meddling with) various genres to see how they might mesh with the more direct and in your face elements of rock, Random Hero seems unapologetically straightforward. And it works for them. In the melange of what we know of music today, it’s almost refreshing to hear.
Breakdown (Ep) is just three tracks. The first track, “Freak Show,” is an angst driven ride through the perils of allowing ourselves to be defined by (and therefore created by) others. The instrumentation is solid and varied enough to keep the song interesting. Vocally, the track hits both highs and lows (tonally), but never attempts to step outside of the vocalist’s range.
The track “Honey” follows pretty closely to the tone set by “Freak Show.” It is also an angst-driven look at relationships, this time taken a little more intimate. Despite the relationship focus, the duality of the lyrics is clearly apparent. The “person” spoken of in the song could easily be switched out for whatever personal vice or hidden sin the listener struggles with. While “Freak Show” and “Breakdown” seem to take the bulk of their musical influences from Skillet, 12 Stones, and maybe even Red, “Honey” is the track that brings some of Nickelback’s work to mind.
The final track is “Breakdown.” “Breakdown” would fit well on 12 Stones newest album. It has just that right mix of… yes, angst… and a resolve to see life change. The setting pictures a man at the edge of sanity who is “headed for a breakdown.” This track, however, focuses more on the recovery side than the other two tracks. While talking about being at the edge and “fading away with just seconds left,” it also reveals that drive to change.
As an EP, its hard to have a flow to the album, but “Breakdown” does wind down nicely and serves as something of a closing track to this short venture into the world of Random Hero. And that is exactly what this EP feels like, it is a sample of things to come.
Overall: Random Hero brings an EP that is pure rock from start to finish. The writing and singing both present a mixture of brooding regret mixed with a glimmer of hope. Fans of Skillet, 12 Stones, and Red will be pleased with this album, but it may wear its influences a little too much on its sleeve. While the album has no major flaws, the band will have to hone in on their signature sound just a bit for a full release. If this happens and Random Hero is able to continue to grow, I have no doubt that there is only good things to come.
RIYL: Skillet, Red, 12 Stones