Friday, December 30, 2011

Brand New Sin - United State

Brand New Sin
United State
Goomba Music

New York (Syracuse) based outfit Brand New Sin should be, by rights a lot bigger than what they actually are. After all, they’ve released some fairly solid and likeable albums, and toured relentlessly for the better part of the last nine years with practically every big named band under the sun.
But given the band’s history with record labels, and their constant line-up changes, it’s not all that hard to understand why Brand New Sin just can’t seem to build on any small amount of success they’ve earned without having to start all over again after another issue arises. But despite the struggles the band have endured over the years, they still persist at what they do best – and that’s making honest hard rocking Southern-tinged rock.
Following on from the success of their independently released ‘Distilled’ album from 2009, Brand New Sin underwent another line-up change after long-time guitarist Kenny Dunham decided to part ways following the album’s release. Not wanting to rush into making a mistake, the band (Comprising of vocalist/guitarist Kris Wiechmann, bassist Chuck Kahl and drummer Kevin Dean) eventually settled on ex-Born Again Rebels guitarist Tommy Matkowski to fill in the vacated position.
Having spent the last year getting themselves familiar with each other, Brand New Sin finally returned to the studio to start recording a new album. The results of their latest venture has brought forth their fifth full-length effort ‘United State’ – which is also their first for their new label Goomba Music.
Although they have revamped their line-up, and found a new label for their new album, ‘United State’ is very much business as usual for Brand New Sin. And while that may sound like a negative, for Brand New Sin, it’s an absolute positive!
The band gets things off to a rocking start with the all guns blazing opener ‘The Lord Came Down’, which is a raw and huge sounding track that boasts some great lead work from the guitarists, and an impressive rocking performance from Wiechmann – who sounds more confident in the front man role. Although strong, the opener is shown up with the follow up track ‘Know Yourself’, which is definitely one of the many stand out tracks on the album, while the infectious ‘All My Wheels’ and the southern boogie rock of ‘Bed Of Nails’ are tracks that prove that the band can write catchy songs, without losing any of their trademark riff rock sound.
Elsewhere, the band delve into acoustic territory on the blues-tinged ‘Rotten As Hell’, the straight-forward blue collar sounding ‘Elbow Grease’ and ‘Travel Well (The Les Daniels Song)’, while on the all-out rocking front, the The Cult-like ‘Infamous’ reminds me of ‘Wildflower’. ‘Goddess Of War’ and the band’s cover of AC/DC’s ‘What Do You Do For Money Honey’ well and truly rock.
As an added bonus, the C.D. version of the album also comes with the acoustic rocker ‘Glory Days’ (Why is such a great track not a part of the official album?), and acoustic version of ‘Sad Wings’ (Which originally appeared on their self-titled debut from 2002) and a rather rough and ready cover of Black Sabbath’s classic ‘The Wizard’.
Although ‘United State’ is far from a classic album, it is a huge step up from the band’s last full-length release. Wiechmann sounds stronger and more confident out front, and the band sounds as strong as ever, despite the change of members.
Overall, ‘United State’ is a rocking and fun album, and one that Brand New Sin fans will no doubt see as another hard rocking and great effort from the band.

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© Justin Donnelly