Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Adema - Topple The Giants

Topple The Giants
Pavement Entertaniment, Inc.

Despite emerging towards the tail end of the nu-metal phenomenon, Adema managed to achieve a modest amount of success with the release of their debut self-titled full-length effort in 2001 through a couple of high rotation singles, and lead vocalist Mark Chavez II’s association with Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis (Chavez is Davis’ younger half brother).
But for all of the success the band enjoyed, things looked shaky when their sophomore release ‘Unstable’ (2003) failed to match the sales of their debut, and the band were dropped from Arista Records. So when Adema announced the departure of guitarist/backing vocalist Mike Ransom and Chavez from the group, many were convinced that they were pretty much done and dusted.
But as bleak as things looked, the remaining members of the Bakersfield (California, U.S.) based outfit picked up former Rewind Yesterday vocalist Luke Caraccioli, signed to Earache Records and released their third album ‘Planets’ in 2005. While the album was far from a runaway success, it did at least show that there was life left in the band, and that they were making attempts to distance themselves from their nu-metal sound of old in favour of a more modern hard rock sound. Despite a positive response from fans and press alike, Caraccioli would announce his resignation from the group within months of the album’s release.
Undeterred, the band recruited former Level vocalist Bobby Reeves into their ranks, and released their fourth full-length effort ‘Kill The Headlights’ in 2007 (Through Immortal Records). But if the band’s history has proven anything, it’s that Adema is anything but solid. So it came as no surprise when the band announced an indefinite hiatus in early 2008.
Since then, Adema have existed in one form or another, and for a brief time they reformed with the original line-up (From mid 2009 through to early 2011), only to dissolve once again. Not surprisingly, the band’s plans to release a D.V.D. and a new full-length release were put on hold indefinitely.
So here we are in 2013, and the current incarnation of Adema is back once again with a new E.P. in ‘Topple The Giants’. Having split with Ransom and Chavez for a second time a couple of years back, the core members of the group have decided to keep things in-house, with guitarist Tim Fluckey taking on the  lead vocals. Joining Fluckey is guitarist/backing vocalist Marc DeLeon, bassist/backing vocalist Dave DeRoo and drummer Kris Kohls.
Comprising of two differing halves, the opening trio of tracks on Adema’s latest E.P. are brand new offerings from the band, with ‘Resolution’ leading the charge. In terms of direction, Fluckey’s vocals on ‘Resolution’ have a bit of a Chavez feel, which gives the song a feel of old Adema, which is definitely rooted in the old nu-metal sound. As a song, it’s a solid tune, and perhaps the one most likely to appeal to Adema fans of old.
The title track ‘Topple The Giants’ isn’t exactly a highlight, with the song sounding a little forced and unremarkable, particularly on the vocal front where Fluckey seems to struggle to match the aggression of the music it accompanies.
Finishing up the new tracks is ‘Lions’, which is more along the hard rock lines of the band’s last couple of releases. It’s here that Fluckey seems to be more at ease as a vocalist. And while the song doesn’t quite sit alongside some of the band’s stronger efforts on either ‘Planets’ or ‘Kill The Headlights’, it’s a solid and likeable track.
The second half of this new E.P. comprises of four re-recorded tracks. While Chavez may have played a large part of Adema’s initial success, Fluckey does manage to pull off a pretty good impression of Chavez on the band’s updated versions of ‘Unstable’ (From 2003’s ‘Unstable’), ‘Immortal’ (From 2002’s ‘Insomniac’s Dream’ E.P.) and ‘Giving In’ (From 2001’s ‘Adema’). Fluckey also manages to pull off a convincing vocal performance on ‘Planets’ (From the 2005 album of the same name), which may not be quite be on the same level as the original, but different enough to warrant a listen. As you would expect, the musical arrangements have changed little from the originals, which overall gives the impression that these versions are purely to showcase what the band are capable of on the vocal front more than anything else.
Overall, ‘Topple The Giants’ is an O.K. release, but one that doesn’t really add much to Adema’s otherwise patchy track record. Instead, the band seems content to stay in a holding pattern for the time being, rather than really push forward and offer up something completely new.
I can’t help but wonder if there’s any real interest from fans in another new release from Adema. I guess only time will only answer that question. But if there’s one message this E.P. delivers, it’s that Adema aren’t ready to call it a day just yet.

For more information on Adema, check out – https://twitter.com/ADEMAofficial

© Justin Donnelly

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