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Hard rock, unplugged

By Soundescape

Self-released: 2009

This review first appeared in the March 26, 2009 issue of the North County Times.

An all-acoustic take on their 2007 debut, "balanceffect," the new album from the Escondido power trio shows that metal and alternative rock can exist and even thrive minus the Marshall stack amps.

Bassist Rowdy Bossard substitutes a second acoustic guitar on this outing, while drummer Jason Thompson trades in his trap set for hand percussion. Singer/guitarist Christian Williams sings quieter – still getting some of the advantages of singing into a mic, but not using the over-the-top approach he used on the first album.

What's most interesting here is listening to the acoustic versions of songs that were also on the first album in electrified performance. "Fake" has perhaps the biggest difference, in that it was performed in a hardcore vein on "balanceffect" – here, it's more of a folk song, albeit one with really intricate guitar playing and layered vocal harmonies. It works both ways, though, a testament to both the men's playing and their songwriting.