From Verona, Italy, I introduce to you this shot of adrenaline to your blood system. Cube41 was today's pleasant surprise for me, and I gotta say, they're one incredible surprise. This quartet take Justin Timberlake-inspired pop and shoot it up with the speed of HIM, the sneer of Smashing Pumpkins, and the sing-along, anthemic choruses of AFI.
Made up of Filippo Cordioli (vocals), Fabio Lonardoni (guitar), Mattia Callian (bass), and Alberto Bonomo (drums), C41 bashes out song after song with dark lyrics and just incredible guitar riffs.
The first song I listen to by them is "Nasty Mind," from their EP PLAY, and from the first chords I'm addicted to this song. Already I've listened to it three times. In fact, the very first few seconds of it sound almost like Disturbed's "Inside the Fire." Quickly, though, Cube 41 move away from the Disturbed sound, and set upon their own formula, launching into a fantastic, catchy verse followed by a bombastic chorus. Cordioli's hypnotic vocals have me in a trance, spinning my head round and round, with sudden shudders at the beat of every drum by Bonomo. Just like the song's chorus, I'm taken over. Lonardoni's sick, distorted riffing resembles groups like AFI and HIM just enough to set them in the alternative-metal/pop-punk genre, yet differs enough to give them their own distinct groove. And what a magnificent groove it is. The only other thing I can say about this song, other than the pounding bass line, is that if there ever was a song to be played at a club, this would be it, no question. And just when I think it's gonna end, Bonomo's drum roll sends me back into a pulse-chasing chorus. Fantastic.
"Nasty Mind" is followed by "Just Keep Walking," another alternative style song that rails off on a strong drum beat from second one. But don't be fooled, this one has Cordioli's seminal hypnotic vocals too, so cold and trance-like they sound like the vocals of the future. Lonardoni's guitar is scaled back a little in this one, relying more on sharp distortion and palm-mute stokes to carry the melody of the song. It seems that the song relies heavily on Bonomo's Keith Moon-like drumming, and Callian's Cliff Burton-like bass skills. Yet coupled with Cordioli's vocals, and Lonardoni's ambient guitar chords, this is one song to not be forgotten.
The last song I listen to is "A Word to Say Goodbye," a slower, more techno-ish song. In fact, if I had to imagine what a techno ballad would sound like, it would be this; slow, ambient, introspective, powerful. Bonomo's drumming is minimalist here, but for the great benefit of the song. Drummers don't have to be loud to be powerful. Callian's bass, too, seems scaled back, but is still evident just enough to carry the song on its slow, pumping bass lines. And with Lonardoni's eased-back guitar, just under Cordioli's lamenting vocals, "A Word to Say Goodbye" presents an almost romantic tone. Listen to these guys. Italy will know them before long. And so will we.
Sounds Like: AFI, HIM, Smashing Pumpkins, Disturbed
Key Tracks from PLAY: "Nasty Mind," "Just Keep Walking," "A Word to Say Goodbye"