Album Review :
The Rugged Spud - s/t

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Band: The Rugged Spud
Release: The Rugged Spud
Label: none
Release Date: January 2012
Reviewed By: BMer

Track Listing:

  1. The Calling
  2. All the Earth
  3. By His Stripes
  4. Represent
  5. I Will Wait
  6. Be Still and Know
  7. Bring It
  8. Confesses, Saved, Baptized
  9. Paid

Southern California’s The Rugged Spud blast onto the spirit-filled hardcore scene with their self-titled album The Rugged Spud. In the vein of fast and furious, passion-fueled hardcore bands like Sleeping Giant and No Innocent Victim, The Rugged Spud present their message loud and clear. Released as a DIY project, self-produced, The Rugged Spud have put together an album that encourages an encounter with God, the flow of the album is designed to move from intense worship then leaves room for reflection with the instrumental track “Be Still and Know” which lands right in the middle of the album.

The Rugged Spud starts off with an intro track that sounds like a battle-horn, building suspense that is realized with the opening track “All The Earth” with its opening line “All the earth is His footstool!” At once the chugging guitars and driving beats produce a heavy and intense sound. The tracks on The Rugged Spud have a real sense of unity, anthems that are written to encourage crowd participation at the live show with sing alongs like the ending of “Bring It” with its repeating choir-like vocals “Open up the gates!”

There is no question that The Rugged Spud is grounded in Biblical truth, the lyrics give it a Gospel feel while the music enforces the passion and the urgency. This is probably about kids in the scene wished their youth group worship band sounded like! The album is wholly encouraging “Feel the love of God that is pulsing through your room, raise your hands and call on His name.” The band has narrowed their scope to reach and support those kids who feel lost and disowned and while the album might not have cross-over appeal outside of this target, The Rugged Spud have clearly announced who they are and Who they stand for.

The Rugged Spud are at their best when they are ripping through precise and focused hardcore songs like “All The Earth”, “By His Stripes”, and “Represent”. Unfortunately half of the album seems to take a turn for a more grunge-influenced sound including more heavy-rock inspired riffs and a slower more plodding speed. Once the six-minute instrumental track “Be Still and Know” hits at slot 6, the album seems to lose momentum. “Bring It” starts off with some real energy, but then there is this half-minute interlude that contains almost no sound at all. The following track “Confessed, Saved, Baptized” is the longest and most complex track on the album. The track showcases the talent of band members with some killer drumming and some excellent riffs on guitar. Lyrically lead singer Emmanuel literally cries out to God “Holy Spirit bring Your kingdom!” over and over.

OVERALL: The Rugged Spud have put together an impressive little package of Spirit-fueled hardcore tracks that will incite and encourage Christians in the scene today. The album is somewhat one-dimensional in that it will not appeal others outside the genre. The mix is impressive for a DIY project, the vocals sit very nicely within the music and the gang vocals are clear but not overpowering. The Rugged Spud, like Sleeping Giant & For Today, will most likely gain fans through their live show as opposed to their recorded music, but in-case you can’t get to the show, The Rugged Spud will give you the 25-minute passionate hardcore worship you need.