POP EVIL – ‘Onyx’

popevilPOP EVIL – ‘Onyx’
Trotting out the cliches from the bible of American Rock and coating them in Monterey Jack can do two things – sound horribly contrived and antiquated, OR, crush all preconceptions with life affirming, fist in the air bravado and justified chest beating.  It’s a tough nut to crack and although Michigan maestros Pop Evil do it better than most, too often this twelve tracker fails to raise the temperature above a simmer.  There’s some masterful riffery set to stun, with Leigh Kakaty’s consumate Rock vocal and straight down the middle songwriting, cuts like ‘Deal With The Devil’ and the pulsating battle ground that is first single ‘Trenches’, have garnered serious radio rotation and significant online sales.  Which would lead us to believe the futures bright for their slightly underwhelming Alter Bridge-isms; and it probably is.  But where ‘Sick Sense’ and ‘Behind Closed Doors’ connect with an upper cut behind the killer opening jabs of ‘Goodbye My Friend’, the grouping of ‘Divide’ and ‘Beautiful’ taint all sense of plausable worth.  It’s hard to know whether they genuinely believe in what they are doing or just simply playing to a baying crowd of rockstar wannabes; lapping up the adulation.  Such is their apparant raison d’etre, Onyx carries twelve potential singles and by the time ‘Fly Away’ creeps its way through to the believable ‘Welcome To Reality’ and ‘Flawed’, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what makes their trigger finger twitch.  Never has a closing title summed up an album so well.  (6)
STEVE FLETCHER

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