Cradle To Grave - Texas Medicine
Cradle To Grave bring a fresh approach to Canadian metal on their sophomore release Texas Medicine, and with a title like that I think you might know what to expect. If you guessed southern-infused metal, good guess because you might not think to find such sounds coming from up north of the border. Their sound is a nice mix of Pantera, Down, and healthy doses of the recent waves of Canadian-based progressive thrash/death metal.
The band (specifically former Aggression guitarist Denis "Sasquatch" Barthe) has said that they wanted this album to "confuse the shit out of people" and to be surprising overall to it's listeners. I'd say they've succeeded, as Texas Medicine rarely stays in one place for too long. They easily transition into 80's NWOBHM-styled soaring solos (as witnessed on "Five Years of Fire" and elsewhere), a more metalcore-ish sound that pummels you with down-tuned riffing and thick, sludgy rhythms. The essense of the album is always pure southern grit, and that's the one constant thread that ties all these very good tracks together. My personal highlights: "Light" (specifically the guitar work, excellent solos), the hardcore punk out-of-left-field track "From Nowhere To Nowhere" that actually starts to touch on pop-punk at moments, all the way to the incredibly vicious "Fuck It Up" and the surprisingly soulful and enjoyable acoustic guitar melodies on "Daughters".
This album is really a handful, while you think you might have their sound pinned down quick each track to follow gives some example of how varied Cradle To Grave's arsenal is. For sure it speaks of experience in the field and also a real knack for songwriting to be able to fuse all these different pieces of musical influence together into one concise and powerful package. Major props to the mastering of Devin Townsend, who's usual magic touch might have something to do with why this record sounds so damn good; everything jumps out at you at just the right moments. For fans of Pantera and Down in particular but also fans of metal that wouldn't be afraid to hear some hardcore punk and vaguely psychadelic southern fried grime dripping off of almost every track, procure a copy of Texas Medicine and let it cure what ails ya.
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on 2008-07-06 SolitaryMan Said:
One thing I failed to mention in my review is how friggin' wicked the vocalist, Greg Cavanagh, is. He's got an extremely firm grip on what it means to vocalize this kind of music, and I'll be seeking out anything he's ever been apart of. Very unique, very punishing, very fucking good.