State Of Shock Guilty by Association

Within the first few sweet piano notes, Vancouver-based State of Shock won me over. "Sound Track of Our Lives,” the opening track on the band’s debut disc Guilty by Association, immediately commands attention with its hauntingly familiar sound. Don’t read that to mean "dated” because that is far from what this group is giving off. It is more a sampling of 1990s fly by night bands like Ugly Kid Joe (only with a lot more credability and seriousness), a dab of Korn (only not nearly as depressingly intense), a dash of classic Soundgarden (think "Jesus Christ Pose”) and blends it all together with the less annoying sounds of Creed and Puddle of Mudd. Cam Melnyk captivates with masterful lyrics (I loved the lyrical treatment on "Living Unaware” so much that I am being extremely forgiving for the not-so-ingenious follow-up track "Sh*t Talker”). The rhythm section, comprised of Alison Toews on bass and Johnny Philippon on drums, provide a steady and flamboyance-free back drop for Melnyk’s baritone stance. One of the skills State of Shock have in spades, which is in part what I like most about the album, is that they write well-rounded songs. The band gives the impression that they take this part of their job very seriously, giving each track the time needed to develop and grow. Unfortunately that makes them a rarity. (Sextant)