Various Artists – Redefine the Rockstar, Vol. 3

Various Artists
Redefine the Rockstar, Vol. 3

It’s called “Redefine the Rockstar,” not “Continue the Cliché,” which is also catchy. Unfortunately, this album does almost nothing to redefine anything, instead sticking comfortably to rock cliches, more noticeably of the punk-rock variety. There are a few exceptions that make wading through this compilation worth it, but just barely.

So we start with the worst piece of crap I think I’ve ever heard, the pathetically vulgar “Hard Candy Cock” by No Redeeming Social Value. This track has no redeeming value, period. Skip it. “Humad,” by the cleverly named Serial Poets, sounds like a White Zombie wanna-be, with its growled “Do you secretly wish you were humad?” Angry, growly vocals over post-industrial hard rock. “G.M.C. (Garage Man’s Conspiracy)” by Enis isn’t bad, as it has nice vocal harmonies and some great guitar riffs, but it sounds a bit too Creed-like for my taste. Slouch’s “Role Model” is pretty grungy, definitely possessing a lot of that mid-90’s Seattle Pearl Jam meets Soundgarden sound. But before you think this album’s a total wash, F.O.C.U.S. contribute an under two-minute blast of pop-punk that’s well crafted and catchy, with vocals that are almost too nice.

The Doomsday Machine do that whole Limp Korn thing, all rapped-out hard rock with lots of swear words. I’ll pass. But Cut.Love.Kill. have something a bit different, really pouring on the aggressive metal-core sounds on “Balance.” The good thing about this track is the music maintains a melodic edge instead of going over to the same aggro-core sound so many do so poorly. Turnstyels play a relatively tame and poorly produced rock track with an alternative edge. But then White Rabbit Cult’s “AnandaShiva” is different. At 6-minutes long, this up-tempo moody track reminds me of a cross between My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult and Nine Inch Nails. I like this one quite a bit. SAX9 has the potential to sound different, with a female singer, but “Lamprey” comes across rather boring and tired.

Bombjack’s “Mental Rent” is mostly hardcore, but it gets all slower and chuggy, and I keep expecting them to leap into explosive screams. They never go quite that far, but there is a little singing, as seems to be the vogue these days. Dead Emotion is trying to be all gothic punk on “…And Now I’m Cold,” but instead the song comes across as a poor mix of styles. Jerky Medicine’s “Back From Egypt” is a kind of bar-rock southern style mixed with a bit more aggression, kind of weird and not working for me. Short Happy Life contribute “Tired (Freak Show),” which sounds like a punk-rock version of The Throwing Muses, oddly enough. There’s a little too much Kittie feeling to this song. Dissolution’s “Subliminal Hatred” is a more hardcore/metal thing, reminding me of Fury of Five. Blah.

Sed-Friek’s “Unleash Daniella” starts cool, with some neat effects behind a hardcore grind. It has a weird, spastic rap-metal thing going on that’s different if not especially good. Pimps are just bad, with their attempt at mixing a quirky 70’s style of rock with a garage-rock sound. Terrible. But at least the guys at 316 saved the best two songs for last. Gypsy River’s “Joyful Sailor” is doubtless Christian rock, but I like this song a lot, especially because of its lofty, echoey effects. Maybe it just sounds good compared to everything else. But SOS’ “Forbidden Love” is a good track, combining rock-n-roll purism with punk rock power and a hardcore energy.

Too bad for the few decent bands on here that they had to be lumped in with so many wanna-bes and imitators. Most of this compilation is tepid at best, but there are a few good tracks. Might be worth picking this up in your used bin for those few hard rocking gems.