State Of Shock Guilty By Association

Their first time out, State Of Shock have achieved what it took Tommy Lee (and Methods Of Mayhem) two albums to only hint at and it didn’t take them an army of guest musicians. Guilty By Association is a triumph of grinding yet melodic rock that grooves rather than plods. Every time Jesse Wainwright’s guitar, Alison Toews’ bass and John Philippon’s drums collide the effect is a chime rather than a thud; aggression as beauty rather than overly ambitious sludge. Not since Alice In Chains has heavy rock sounded so tight — Guilty is a debut with a focus that rivals that of some bands’ second or third offerings. Taken as a while, it’s totally apparent that the first single, "Wish I’d Never Met You,” is a calculated move to draw in an audience that wasn’t previously there. With its buzz saw guitars and made-for-current-taste-radio tempo and production, "Wish I’d Never Met You” sounds like Tommy Lee jamming with Sum 41 and sticks out like a sore thumb. "Wish I’d Never Met You” isn’t such a bad thing (though the rest of the album is far superior) in that it proves that, even when operating outside their expertise and delving into the vacuous genre of pop punk, State Of Shock are categorically incapable of sucking. Elsewhere the drinking, balling and fighting sentiments on the rest of the record serve the band far better however. The production supplied by Tim Neuhaus rounds out the rough instrumental edges and when combined with the bottomless low end of SOS on songs like "Soundtrack Of Our Lives” produces one of the most raucous and tuneful moments in current modern rock. Overall, Guilty By Association has come along at the best time they possibly could. With their sound and the fact that Velvet Revolver has signalled "the return of rock,” expect State Of Shock to make a huge impact in the near future. (Sextant)