- 9th February 2009
- Single - Valentine
Loosely residing in and around the South-West, Chapterxiii
are a five-piece, pleasingly melodic, rock outfit and the
sumptuous 'Valentine' is their latest single release. At a
time when so many 'rock' bands are charging, seemingly blindly,
down the metal/thrash/hardcore route it's great to find that
there are still outfits that are prepared to stick to the
well tried and tested British rock ethos of supplying great
riffy rockin' tunes that comprise melody, well drafted lyrics,
sensitive playing and accessible vocals - Chapterxiii, as
you will have guessed are just such an outfit.
'Valentine' is a beautifully balanced pop-rockster that contains
a hefty degree of commercial sensibility and opens up doors
from many directions allowing access for rock-heads of several
persuasions. 'Valentine', dare I say it, is great British
rock as I grew up knowing it; hard and energetic but with
well proportioned subtlety and that certain 'timeless' feel,
plenty of singalongability but still with masses of head-bangin'
possibilities. 'B' side, 'Just Because Of You', demonstrates
that the excellent Chapterxiii don't entirely ignore some
of the contemporary elements of metal mayhem by thrashing
out an up-tempo work that introduces pacey riffs and 21st
century knee-jerkin' percussion whilst retaining a strong
hold on instrumental balance and showing a great understanding
of vocal dynamics within the ensuing instrumental melee!
'Valentine' and 'Just Because Of You' by Chapterxiii sit together
to form a great piece of modern rock that's living proof that
rock music is alive and well and bubbling under somewhere
in and around the Bristol area - smashin' stuff!!
(Rhythm & Booze rating 9)
Chapter XIII - Dream Salvation (Levelsound)
UK release date: 10 April 2007
1. Lucky Day 2. The Last Time 3. Miss Me When I'm Dead 4.
Lately 5. I'm Alive 6. Don't Break Me Down 7. Dream Salvation
8. Hit Me 9. Dust To Dust 10. Happening Now 11. Fall 12. Welcome
To The Real World 13. Cold Black Tea
There's a reason why rock records can't be marked or scored
like job applications. Let's imagine, for a moment, that a
form was produced to do just that, with lots of tick-boxes
and sections to be marked loosely out of three or five. Expertly
played funky slap bass? Get a point. Confident vocal delivery
in an American style? Two points. Efficient plucking of numerous
musical nostalgia strings from well-loved rock anthems? Maybe
ten points - it's a big winner with the punters, after all.
The thing is, such a score-sheet would likely mark out Dream
Salvation as one of the rock albums of the year. It ticks
all the right boxes, and does so with professionalism and
vigour. That score would be wrong, though. This is a very
good album, don't get me wrong, but there's something missing
here, and it's stopping Chapter XIII realising the awesome
potential they clearly have.
Let's get back to those good bits, though, as there are many.
Chapter XIII may be from Bristol, but they've clearly got
their hearts in California funk-rock. The Red Hot Chili Peppers,
Pearl Jam and especially Faith No More are clear influences
throughout, along with a dash of West Coast progressive house
music to boot. Like Faith No More, they throw a huge variety
of genres into the mix, and similarly pull most of them together
with controlled precision and flair.
Opener Lucky Day kicks off with a spiky synth intro and electronic
drums before introducing all the ingredients that swim in
the Chapter XIII stew - spiky slap bass ala Billy Gould, epic
guitar breaks and absurdly infectious keyboard flurries. Previous
single The Last Time goes one better on all of these. It almost
stands up to Faith No More in their Real Thing period, although
minus Patton (which is a big minus).
On Lately and I'm Alive, Chapter XIII drift firmly into Chili
Peppers territory, and the worry signs start to appear. Both
are good tracks, and verge on greatness at times, but there's
that niggling something hidden amongst the cheesy guitar breaks.
Then on Don't Break Me Down it hits - vocalist Mark Nelmes
is sounding just that bit too much like Anthony Kiedis. Except
that's just when he's in Kiedis Territory. Check out Hit Me,
with its oh-so Pearl Jam riff and all of a sudden he sounds
more like Eddie Vedder. He never sounds like Mike Patton,
but in fairness no-one but Patton himself has ever managed
that. You never get the feeling that you know what Nelmes'
own vocal style is - it just sounds like a collage of his
The myriad of ideas and sources that have gone into Dream
Salvation have been well glued together, but (despite great
production throughout) the edges still show. There's some
really bizarre keyboard moments here too, especially on the
Robert Miles style piano motif to Dust To Dust which, just
like the rest, is still a really good song. Go figure.
Also, given the comparisons above, it's all very safe. Where
the Chili's had Kiedis' libido, Faith No More had the insanity
of Patton and Fishbone had the insanity of the whole band,
there's just no rock 'n' roll danger here. In this aspect
Dream Salvation is almost like the Rasmus' second album -
often superb, but much derided as it's just not all that rock'n'roll.
Get to the absurdly poppy closing track - which is almost
boy-band material - and you can't help feel that this must
be intentional. Maybe that's where we need to put the all
these concerns aside. As a pop-rock album, Dream Salvation
is superb, and, given the right exposure, it's got hit potential
written all over it. It's a great rock album too, but in this
respect they're setting themselves a much tougher goal.
Dream Salvation has a habit, in its best moments, of reminding
us of even better moments from bands that came before. This
can only make them seem second best. They've got the chops,
they just need the attitude. After all, if they want to be
kings of the pond, they're going to have to make like Yertle
the Turtle and climb up on top to assert their glory.
XIII - Dream Salvation
Chapter XIII are set to release their debut album 'Dream Salvation'
with Levelsound Music on the 10th April.
Chapter XIII are a five piece from Bristol with Gareth on
guitars / vocals, Mark on bass guitar and vocals, EJ on drums,
Chris on keyboards and Paul (or Tadpole
) on guitar and
vocals. The music of Chapter XIII offers a rich and prolific
song base with varying music styles and influences.
They present an eclectic brew of metal, pop and trance. A
pounding drum and bass back line, occasionally bordering on
traumatism. Vocals flow through hardcore husky rock to Beach
Boys harmonies with a strange ease.
The band had rave reviews when they released their debut
single 'Miss Me When I'm Dead' last year:
"Enjoyable and promising first single - I look forward
to hearing the album" www.screamingtarts.com
"I could listen to this all day" - www.heathenangel.co.uk
'Dream Salvation' is a stunning introduction to the band
who can not be pigeon-holed as they will surprise and exceed
Also See: ilikemusic.com