REVIEW: Solarized - "Driven"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

SolarizedAgain, Meteor City surprises me. This is not your typical sound that Legends would review - but I really dig it. Stoner rock is what one would typical call this. Garage-style, minimal on the production to give it the raw and guttural sound. Would our typical goth reader get into it? Probably not - but for those of us that can still remember the very beginnings of grunge, those of us that were listening to alternative back when it was still a term and not a genre, and can still recall Scott Weiland's first hair color - then welcome home baybee.

Even further back we can go on the wheels of Solarized - back to when a bunch of metal hog riders crossed the Canadian border into America on a Magic Carpet and spit Born To Be Wild in the face of a musical public that probably wasn't ready yet for something that loud. I'm sitting here, 10 in the morning, playing old arcade games like Commando, smoking USA brand cigarettes, and Solarized has become the theme music. American Spirit personified with all the patriotism, all the glory and every bit of blood and guts that it took to get us here.

Sounded with guitar, vocals and bass by James Hogan, guitar by Dave Topolenski, chick rocker Regina Satana on drums and the bass strummings of Mike Fiore. Hogan's vocals, while retaining the grit that is stoner rock, has a Rob Zombie tendency, which should make most industrial heads interested at the very least. It stays to the rock and roll style, but splits it up a bit wider with very heavy riff work from Dave and Mike. Regina's drumwork is totally on, without missing a beat, roll or high hat. It's probably the highly polished rhythm of Regina Satana that helps give the other guys the room to apply a rip-roaring dirty style, keeping it on the edge without losing the movement of a song.

Of course I have to feel a bit of pride over this review - after all Solarized is from my home state. Solarized was born via previous Satana/Hogan project Daisycutter, which in years gone by built a bit of fame for themselves playing shows with such notables as Motorhead, Smashing Pumpkins, Melvins and more. Daisycutter split following a members' leave to Monster Magnet and not long after Solarized started up. Their first release, Neanderthal Speedway, was put out on the indie Man's Ruin label. A few tracks appeared on compilations thereafter, heavy marketing campaigns occurred and suddenly, stoner heroes of my life, Meteor City kicks out the latest Solarized riff war - Driven.

This is backyard music. From the opening Dig the Ride, you're immediately thrust into beer-swilling, neo-suburban wastelands. The Stab Your Back cover, previously a Damned song as I'm sure most of my readers will know, shows that while rock and roll, Solarized do infuse their music with a wide array of influences. Box Full of Dirt is probably one of my favorites from the album with witty lyrics and inundated with life-truths - "Enjoy it while it lasts."

With every tearing guitar riff, every screaming vocal and every high-pitched noodling squeal, it's cowboy-stoner-Mopar-hard-driving-raw yet hippy. So pass the bong and queue up the next track - you know damn well I'll be bringing this CD over to my boy David's house for the next billiards, darts and beer night. I may be a goth to some, a punk to others - but I can still recognize good solid rock and roll, stripped down and served raw. Almost makes me want to buy a Harley …almost.

Buy The Album
Buy Driven

Contact Information:
Post: Solarized, P.O. Box 491, Eatontown, NJ, 07724-0491
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