Monday, October 26, 2009

Drowning in Benzene

It's just been one of those productive days, and I present you with discovery #3, Benzene. Out of Melbourne, Australia, Benzene deliver a sucker-punch to your left temple, bringing down the house with harsh vocals, pulse-pounding drums, and sick guitar riffing. Benzene completed their debut EP, In the Red, in 2003, and although the EP had such amazing tracks as "Magical" and "Jumpstart" (really, "Magical" just has one of those great choruses tied in perfectly with a face-melting guitar solo and drums that would make you shiver), they lost some momentum due to line-up changes at the end of the tour in support for the EP. But now their back with a brand new line-up, a new album, and a fury that's ready for the world.
Comprising founding members Michael Bonanzinga (lead vocals and guitar) and Ben Ferrara (drums), and new members Paul Hillier (guitars) and Jason Armstrong (bass), Benzene proves they are a force to be reckoned with from the first track off their new album, the title track "Electric DNA." Riding in on Hillier's and Bonanzinga's incredible guitar riffing, the song takes off on the back of Armstrong's tight fretwork, and Ferrara's apocalyptic drumming. The only thing that makes the song any better, besides the signature guitar riff that pervades the song is Bonanzinga's hardcore vocals that make me think of GNR pumped up with grunge-heavy guitars. 
Hillier and Bonanzinga then launch into the next number, "I Got Bored" and as Armstrong and Ferrara join in, the song quickly joins AC/DC on the highway to Hell. The guitar in this song is only further enhanced and shown up by the sick solo half-way through that lets the rest of the world know that the guitarists in Benzene are to be taken seriously. But Armstrong isn't far behind, his bass notes like blunt blows to the head as Ferrara Keith Moon's the hell out of his drumkit. If I had to pick a second song from this album as my favorite, this would be the one. It's loud, it's thrashing, it's fantastic. 
The last couple songs I listen to from Electric DNA are "City Bug," fast, guitar-driven song which showcases Ferrara's drumming abilities especially well alongside Hillier's solo riffing, and "The Gig Is Up," a fiery track which starts on Hillier's grunged-out guitar notes, and continues all the way to the top with Bonanzinga's coarse vocals and Armstrong's rhythmic bass lines. Why these guys aren't as huge as Seether, Hinder, or Theory of a Deadman is beyond me, cuz I think their fucking incredible. One thing's for sure: if I had my own record label, I'd sign these guys in a heartbeat. 

Sounds Like: AC/DC, Hinder, Vains of Jenna, Airbourne

Key Tracks from Electric DNA: "Electric DNA," "I Got Bored," "City Bug," "The Gig Is Up"


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