LABEL: PAVEMENT MUSIC
WORDS: CORAL DANIELS
Armed with a new lineup and sound, 9Electric have stripped back the electronics, in favour for good ol fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, on Megalith. Going back to their influences; they’re calling this one the “most honest record of our career”. Now, that’s a lot to live up to.
One of the most obvious finds on the album is the constant contrasts between light and dark imagery. It seems that recognising the good and bad in people/life was important to them for this record. With references to: battles, soul stealing and hanging ropes; it’s not the most cheerful or uplifting album, but definitely worth a listen to power on through life’s challenges and relate to the band’s own experiences with overcoming hurdles.
Co-writing all the songs on the album, was Ron Underwood (vocals) and Mikey Lopez (guitar). Underwood, states the ‘Megalith’ concept “grew straight out of my obsession with lost civilizations and esoteric symbols” and that the lyrics are “introspections into life’s dualities”. Getting more philosophical with age it seems, the album explores “primarily good and evil, and how they work to create a third and even greater single entity beyond that given dimension.”
“it seems that recognising the good and bad in people/life was important to them for this record”
The duality he explains above, appears to be most explicit at the end of the album, with track eleven “Dragging Me Down”. The opening lyrics: “Easier said than done,to determine who has won, a battle no one can win” clearly depict a conflict and struggle. Culminating at 4 minutes 13 seconds, it’s the longest song on the album and it certainly feels it. Towards the end it feels too repetitive. The guitar solo is a nice touch to really give them that old school rock feeling they wanted to achieve, however it does feel a little misplaced at the end. If it broke up the verses then perhaps it wouldn’t have felt too repetitive.
In total contrast, ‘Breathe’ is the shortest,coming in at a below average two minutes fifty seconds; it appears to have a much more enjoyable pace. Everything about it feels fast, which is only further emphasised by the short bursts of winding down, before belting “I’m coming up to breathe” back out. The sense of urgency of needing to come up for air is reflected in the furiocious speed and heaviness, both in the vocal and instrumental.The drumming is also integral to pulling off of the pace changes and feels more experimental compared to other tracks; sounding like it would be a tonne of fun the play live and really make him sweat!
“Each song feels distinctive from the rest- you’re always wondering what will they try next?”
One of the highlights has to be ‘The Light’ where they’ve teamed up with Carla Harvey from Butcher Babies. It’s already getting the most hits on Spotify out of all twelve tracks, which is probably because it draws in fans of both artists. It seems softer, with a simpler intro of sweet piano tones and dulled out drums, which is in the background throughout. You also get that duality come across again too, in a literal sense because of the two different vocal tones; giving it a real sweet and sour contradiction.
‘Nothing 2 Lose’ sounds like a Linkin Park track for the first thirty seconds, it’s almost hip-hop and has more prominent electronic parts too, which are juxtaposed with the full band playing and the husky vocals we’re used to by this point in the album. Lyrically, it focuses on things being “out of place” and a need to “break out”, with a feeling that they’re really at the end of their tether; going past the point of caring.
Each song feels distinctive from the rest, with only a running theme threading them together, which is quite exciting when you listen to the tracks back-to-back, as you’re always wondering what will they try next? It’s certainly not a classic stand out rock album though, which is what was expected given they cited the likes of Guns N Roses, as the influences that drew them to reduce the electrical aspect of their sound. It is worth a listen though and seems like a step in the right direction for them.