Yep, you guessed it…”Another reason why Texas rocks.” Colossus of Rhodes comes to us from Lubbock. With a mix of a little bit hardcore and a little bit straight up metal, I wanted to do this review because, to me, they fit into different genres but with a sound all their own, and to classify them at all into a single category would be a travesty. All influences can be heard and do coincide well within their album “Stay Oblivious”.
Former guitarist, JJ Munoz, and former drummer, Jeremy Velasquez, were the musicians who helped record the album, so my reference to them and their skills, along with the other three, will be at the forefront. This is, of course, not to take away from the current members. They are: Nevel (vocals), Brandon (guitars, backing vocals), James (guitar), Dub (bass, backing vocals), and Marty (drums). By the looks of things, and I’m just spit balling here, that the relationships between the former and current members remain pretty strong; it’s just that a little different musical direction wanted to be taken between the guys. I guess in a city of approximately 280,000 people, keeping relationships professional is definitely best.
The title track kicks it off in powerful form. The speed and aggression the band is so accustomed to is prevalent throughout this opening jam. Nevel’s vocals have an almost innocent tone until he quickly breaks into his Mr. Hyde growling scream. What makes this song so unique to me is that Nevel is not the only one lending his talents to the vocalizations. It sounds like at least two other band members break in to give a growling serenade and a battle of the vocals, so to speak. The perfect song to start things off. ‘The Opposite’ breaks in with great guitar playing by Brandon and JJ, Dub’s bass, and some cymbal and bass drum work by Jeremy until 0:37, when their musicianship cranks it up a notch to what is the badass rhythm of the song. Ferocious growling vocals explode into what is an obvious, in-your-face necessity. At about 3:15, and for about 17 seconds, in what is a cool break from the norm, Nevel’s “clean” vocals are put into focus as everything else goes acoustic. Another break back to pure power, then slows down again up until 4:21, in which a backing growl shadows and compliments the cleanliness through to the end of the song. Great musicianship.
Of course ‘Love is Fading Out’, the third track, has some post-hardcore elements to it, but, to me, it gives a completely thrash metal testament to the involvement of the different influences CoR feeds off of. With the speed drumming and its double bassing and crashing cymbals, speed guitaring and its effortless change from deep to screeching solo work, the pulsing bass lines, and the echoing and resonating vocals, this is one of my personal favorites of the album. Speaking of influences, the next two songs, ‘Revolution’ and ‘Song Titles Just Don’t Mean the Same as They Used To’, catch a hint of a couple of the band’s mentioned influences, Coheed and Cambria and Every Time I Die specifically. The final track, ‘One True Faith’, is a definitive mixture of the entire album rolled into one killer and diehard song.
I want to touch on track 6 a little. There are so many remakes/cover songs out there, and we have all heard some extremely terrible (ear bleeding terrible) covers out there, but then there are those that we say, “Wow, very well done. I like it better than the original.” It seems that ’80s music is the most popular to redo a song to. Colossus of Rhodes falls into the category of “liking it better than the original” and it being an ’80s tune. ‘(I Just) Died in Your Arms’ was the name of the song made famous by Cutting Crew, but the original thought that the creator had was “I just died in your arms tonight”, which is the way the band uses it on their version. The opening keyboard sequence rocks in its similar simplicity, yet speedier, before Nevel breaks in singing that opening title lyric. Like with any covers I have heard that I actually love, this one gives the listener the wonderful singing capabilities, a hint of growling in the background throughout, and a decent break with only growls. The final sequence explodes with each varying vocalization. The whole song keeps the original’s rhythm in tact while the band places their own signature sounds into it.
There you have it. Seven songs to headbang to. I thoroughly enjoyed listening and re-listening to this album to get my words to sound good to me, and I truly dig these guys out of Lubbock. From reading a few things about them, I respect the way they do live shows, by being and bringing all-around fun and atmosphere to include the crowds into their shows. Fans first, and Colossus of Rhodes knows it. Go check them out: