The debut full length from Reno Nevada’s 3-piece explores sides of metal and rock in an unconventional yet extremely interesting way. I first came to know of guitarist/vocalist Kirk Witt from a guitar forum I used to frequent, and being the tight knit community we were, I checked out every jam he posted. From his “Alternative Argument” to his early solo effort ‘Third World Psychic’, it was pretty clear Kirk had something different to offer. He then carried over to this project Four Stroke Baron with EP full of very interesting material. “Prostitute” and “Cyborg” being stand out tracks with very unique vocals that had more in common with Tears for Fears and Devin Townsend than it ever did with James Hetfield. Then they followed it up with their full length ‘King Radio’ and then were promptly signed to Prosthetic Records for the release of ‘Planet Silver Screen’.
The album provides a different feel than your used to with typical metal releases nowadays. The strength of the album has a lot more to do with it’s almost non-metal characteristics rather than falling prey to formulaic approaches that have more recent bands being lost in a sea of djenty breakdowns that plague today’s metal landscapes. The album opens up with a building intro in “Cut” pushing you into “Planet Silver Screen” that lends more riff wise to a band like Protest the Hero than Devin Townsend as earlier suggested. While “Progressive” is a term used to describe the music, it doesn’t pin down to any particular pattern, and that’s the refreshing nature of the album. “Neon Person” has more of a poppy Devin Townsend ‘Addicted’ era like feel with a crushing outro. Injecting more change into the flow of the album “Machine and Joy” adds a new layer as the song builds on it’s own momentum from the intro on. “Matter of Seconds” busts out a very meaty down-tuned plate full of riffs with a pretty slamming outro; which seems to be a common theme on the album.
I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the constant theme of the disenchanted melody combined with Kirk’s vocals; which serve more as accent pieces than the focal point of the songs. “7th of July” is a song that opens well in this manner, all the while leaning with hints of Deftones styled riffing. We get some cool telecaster action on “Cyborg Pt. 2: The City”; which is a sequel to one of the earlier efforts. “Duplex” serves as a great transitional track heading into the album’s closer “Video Maniacs”. Closing out the album in epic fashion, in “Video Maniacs” we get a cavalcade of everything from the earlier parts of the album, great melodic hook, a guest sax solo from Jorgen Munkeby of the Swedish band Shining, and closing out with a great jammy outro.
Have to admit, this was an album I did not see coming. The production is top notch and the overall conceptual sequencing is brilliant. Coupled with the fact this trio feeds extremely well off each other, displaying fantastic musicianship, putting together great songs. If this is your first go around hearing this band you’re in for a real treat. But if you’ve been following Four Stroke Baron, you’ll be impressed by how far they’ve come.
Notable Tracks: Planet Silver Screen, Cyborg Pt. 2: The City, Neon Person