Various Artists – Redefine the Rockstar, Vol. 5

Various Artists
Redefine the Rockstar, Vol. 5

Usually, every compilation has at least a couple of bands that you’ve heard of before. However, when I received Redefine the Rockstar, that wasn’t the case. The New York label, 3:16 Productions, self-dubbed as “The bottom line in underground and indie talent,” has assigned itself the purpose of putting out compilations chuck-full of unsigned bands (and they’re always accepting submissions, so check out their site). This particular volume of Redefine the Rockstar features songs from Stations, Gutter Poet, Born, Medea Connection, Burn Guitars, Putrid Flowers, 20 Oz. Nothing, Mylar, Aberdeen, Quadrant 77, Cryptic Visions, Kronically Inkorect, Feltsideout, NME, Excitebike, Sloth Frenzy, Jet Orange, Crambone and Seeing Red.

All right, let’s take this one band at a time. The Virginia-based Stations kick things off with “Domesticated,” a relatively well-produced, snotty punk track that is actually quite good, as compared to what I expected. Next comes Gutter Poet, a female-fronted hard rock band from Long Island that sounds like Tori Amos fronting Iron Maiden. Born follow, a Queens, New York hardcore band with just a touch of melody, and the duo that is Medea Connection, from Boston, Massachusetts, proceed them with a grunge/punk hybrid that is bound to kick any mosh pit into full gear. What comes next is the triple-bass sound of New York City’s Burn Guitars, which is rather lethargic and easily disposable. Bouncy rhythms, sing-along choruses, and catchy hooks are the trademark of old-school punk band The Putrid Flowers, and they’re followed by the generic metal sound of 20 Oz. Nothing. The chicks of Brooklyn, New York’s Mylar prove they can scream and rock out with the best of the boys in their genre, and they are followed by the odd, grungy rock stylings of Aberdeen, who are also from Brooklyn.

New York City’s Quadrant 77 stand out as one of the more unique bands here, blending funk, soul, and dance to create the instrumental, “Majenta,” but things quickly get back to the generic metal theme with Cryptic Visions. Kronically Inkorect take the rap metal sound and crank it up a few notches but still fail to impress, while Feltsideout do pretty much the same exact thing, only with a voice that sounds like that guy from Collective Soul on steroids. NME’s “Dinner Through a Straw” is a truly frightening digital metal romp, and Excitebike’s three-chord punk effort, “Finger Snappin,” sounds like a million other punk bands, but is still halfway tolerable. Patterns of Fiction provide more metal, but more in the 80s thrash vein than the other bands offered. Jet Orange stick out like a sore thumb in this testosterone-filled heap, with a quirky bossa nova beat blended with punk-rock aggression to create one of the better songs on the album. Crambone take the sound of someone like Rollins Band and blend it with a little funk, sounding kind of like a beefier version of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and New Jersey’s Seeing Red close things out with a Godsmack-esque, boring, modern-day metal track.

This compilation covers the whole spectrum, ranging from rock to metal to goth to punk and pop-punk to art-rock to hard-rock to alt-rock and more. Unfortunately, there aren’t many tracks here that would make you want to go check out these bands, but I guess that’s why they’re unsigned, right? Nonetheless, it’s good exposure and a chance for you to check out some possibly up-and-coming acts.