POP EVIL - Pop Evil

April 2, 2018, 22 days ago

(eOne)

Dillon Collins

Rating: 6.0

review hard rock pop evil

POP EVIL - Pop Evil

Perhaps flying under the radar on a worldwide scale, Michigan based hard rockers Pop Evil have carved out a solid strip of mainstream stardom in their native America. 

Aiming to ride the wave of the past three records, which saw U.S. chart-topping hits “Trenches”, “Torn To Pieces” and “Footsteps” become radio staples, and with their debut studio album celebrating the coveted decade mark in 2018, the five-piece commemorate the momentous occasion with their self-titled fifth studio album. 

The frantic chugging guitar riffs of anthematic leadoff single “Waking Lions” set the tone early. This is not your stereotypical heartache and darkness album of Pop Evil records past from frontman Leigh Kakaty and co.  “Colors Bleed” serves up a politically charged rap-rock hybrid akin to early Rage Against The Machine, albeit one with more bark than bite compared to the similarly styled (and themed) “Art of War”. 

There’s headway gained through decidedly genre-bending cuts “Ex Machina” (newly added drummer Hayley Cramer is particularity impressive here) and the bluesy-infused “Be Legendary”, while some of that made up ground dissipates with more formulaic, by-the-numbers offerings like the subdued album closers “Birds of Prey” and “Rewind”. And then there’s the criminally lightweight “A Crime To Remember”, a track tailor-made for a Nicholas Sparks big screen adaptation or tween drama. 

For those hungry for the next progressive, aggressive, forward steps for Pop Evil, there are glimmers and flashes of hope to be found. Though it is likely that one too many play-it-safe shortcuts and an over-reliance on tried-and-true radio approved formulas may turn off fans searching for a reprieve from status quo rock ‘n’ roll.

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