Loudest Rock Branded Review
 
TNA's sophmore release "Branded", is going to make loyal fans drool with the albums stronger songs and its music. It is an album that moves TNA into a new direction of style and sound. Mike McManamon's vocals have matured and are passionate with each lyric he sings. The drums and bass provided by Danny Tore and new bassist Doug Odell, shake the album with deep pulsating vibrations which enhance the impact of the material and work as a great foundation for Mike to do his thing. Sean's guitars are faster and more maped out, to a point of complexity with layers of guitars ontop of layers. This creates a SOUND of an army of guitars while in the end it is just a mere man of ONE. "Branded" , with its music, lyrics, vocals and production are a large step above "Finger On The Trigger". Simply put, This is almost a different band then the band that released "Trigger", and why not?! Its 3 years later, they are older, wiser regrouped with a new bassist, new look, sound and total package! Kivel Records and TNA have up the anti on this one, and boy have they ever! TNA are now ready to step into the light and let others know they are here to rock with a BRAND all their own. Also, I have to say , another kudos to Kivel Records for creating yet again another great album cover for the market with its imagitive imagery and concept. One of the best from them to date!!

"Branded" is an improvement from , "Finger On The Trigger", although not taking away from the bands previous release, which was a GREAT rock record. However, "Branded" shows a edgier, yet grittier side of the band with its sophmore effort. This album exhibits the bands growth in every direction possible. Mike McManamon's voice sounds stronger with its deeper and more intense vocals, and his approach shows a wider range from the "TRIGGER" album. Danny Tore's drums and bassist Doug Odell are stronger and more in your face, giving the album a harder edge feel. Something the first CD fell just short of. Sean's guitar work IS superb on this CD, with his complexity, speed and thought out solos. All of which, gives fans of guitar playing albums Goosebumps with each listen!

Now, my only complaint would be a two fold one. The album could have benefited from a bit more of a Bigger backing vocals sound on some songs. Don't misunderstand me now, the backing vocals are good. I just feel could have been BETTER. My only other complaint would be, that the album could have benefited from a song that fits that commercial "fun" song sound. In closing , all in all this IS great record and has not left my changer since I received it. All I can say is.....I've been 'BRANDED', and I have no complaints with that at all. I have no doubt this album will be a favorite of the people that purchased the first one, and a pleasant welcome to new fans that missed them the first time out.

NOW, for the song play by play:

"Society" - The album starts of with a montage of nightly new clips. A glimpse into 'society' today. The track and title fit in well, once you see and understand the album artwork and connect it to the name of the new disk.

"Lies, Guns And Violence" - The album starts off with this down and gritty feeling track. A type of track you can get into with the rhythm section. A great song based on it's lyrical content and vocals power on it. This is one of those tracks where you can hear how the band has grown since the last album.

"Do You Remember" - Very cool track! Once the guitars and drums kick in just before the choruses and during, you are taken for a FUN ride. Memorable hooks and riffs are all over this song. This is one of those songs you will walk away from humming "Yeah....your faith is all I need" to yourself! The guitar solo has some great fret playing on it. Shall we say fast and furious! I love the background vocals on this one, as it enhances the chorus.

"Walk Before You Crawl" - Great rock song! Has all the elements of a fun upbeat rock song! I can see this easily being a 'live fan favorite' song. It has a strong bass / drum beat to it. This is a fists-in-the-air song.

"Rain" - Starts off hard, loud and in your face. Love the vocals! A deep raspy vocal lead into the singing. This song almost has a "The Cult" feel to it. It sounds very modern MTV2 rock sound to it. I love the solo on this one. Sean jumps right into it and then they bring it down, and once you think it is over you get thrown right back into chorus. The outro vocals and background vocals are intense! Great note holding on Mike's part here. Very strong track!

"9 Lives Of Innocence" - Starts off as a sharp sounding acoustic song and gives you a "Tyketto" feel to it. Give it sometime, as it builds into a great arrangement! My first report on this song in the demo stage was that it had a classic rock feel to it. I think it still does, but I also think this is the kind of song that can play easily next to a Matchbox 20 or a Goo Goo Dolls song. The acoustic guitar in this song really brings out the style and sound for this one.

"Feel It" - Love the bass line in this one. Another strong rock track. This is another song off the album where you can hear all the guys have grown since "Finger On The Trigger". Tha background vocals, lead vocals, guitar, bass and drums really shine all together on this one. Never over powering the other. I think this could be another favorite for listeners.

"Evas Song" - An acoustic instrumental to lead into "The Sound". Not all instrumentals work for me on albums. Some don't fit in, some fit in better than the songs. I think this one fits in well for two reasons. After first three quarters of the album, you are bopping your head to it, and getting into the intense sounds of the new album. "Evas Song" breaks that up for a moment or two, and gives you that breathing room as it segues into the rest of the album. Also, without the 'traditional' rock ballad, it gives the album a good slow tempo tune.

"The Sound" - This was one of my favorite songs from the demos I heard. I was looking forward to this one very much! When this one starts off, I immediately thought of later Van Halen (Hagar era) perhaps a song from the "Balance" CD. But after that it is strictly a TNA track. This track has come into it's own with this "finished" version. The vocal effects are awesome on the lead. The guitar rhythm over the bass line gives the song a nice heavy beat. There are guitars all over this song and that is a great thing! There are two small guitar parts that are panned left and right, Its as if Sean is rolliing up his sleeves before he does his solo and gets down and dirty! Probably my favorite solo on this album. It has a hard and strong back beat in the drums and bass area. The nasty laugh at the end is an exclamation point saying "In Your Face Man!".

"Scream" - "Scream New York City!" I love this song! It is a 'visual' song to me. As I listened to the lyrics I am picturing a music video in my head. Images of NYC, from all the nasty walks of life. This is gonna be a Tri-State area live fan favorite! "A city so nasty you know they had to name it twice!"...yes indeed!

"Kill Your Idols" - YES! Great song! First the style is so different than the other songs. I like the little almost 'rap' parts in the lead vocals. The beat and rhythm working together here is top notch. Lyrics are great! "Followed you like a blind cow". Another very strong track on the album. Ends the new CD with a bang! Should be another fan favorite!

-Rob
"CRANK IT UP!"

Track-By-Trank With Sean Tarr & Mike McManomon:

"Society": Is a 47 second Montage intro of news broadcasts and TV commercials. It helps set the stage for the albums first track.

"Lies, Guns and Violence": There's a saying that art is merely a mirror of society. Haven't you ever turned the TV off in disgust after seeing nothing but the horrible things people do to one another? Seeing corrupt, money grubbing elected officials, celebrities, and CEO's of large corporations getting richer, while the people who put them there in the first place grow poorer? Politicians lie at every turn, some lie about cigars while others lie about wars, tax cuts, big business and the environment. We need to wake up and "change the direction that we're being led, try to loose the monkey that we're being fed"! Stop watching all those useless reality shows and educate yourself. We're all the same, some people do certain things better but it doesn't make them better. Wake up and believe in yourself and do not take anything at face value! -Sean Tarr

"The Sound": As we all know, hard rock has had a pretty tough time over the last decade. First it was Grunge then Hip Hop and now Nu Metal and boy band hell. Not that there's anything wrong with these other genres mind you, but they just don't have the same chill up your spine, testosterone laced hard rock goodness that I grew up with damn it!!! I wanted to write an in your face guitar laden rocker that conveyed this urgency. This track has layers of Les Paul and Flying V guitars played through a Marshall on 10! This is all about Thin Lizzy, classic Aerosmith and ACDC. "It's like the thunder and lightning”, ol' Phil (Lynott) used to sing about. Now, If you've ever heard "Thunder and Lightning" by Thin Lizzy you know what I'm talking about. - Sean Tarr

"Do You Remember": At times I find myself wallowing in the romantic notion of what used to be rather than what is. This song reflects my feelings of wanting to break out of the rut we all find ourselves in from time to time. If we're lucky, we have someone there who loves us to help us out. Wall of guitars. This time the Performance strat and the Charvel strat were employed. We wanted dynamics, like the tide coming in and out. Soft verse building and building until the crescendo in the chorus then receding back to the soft verse. Mike laid down some powerful vocals to make the hook really sink in." I want to feel incredible, I want to feel invincible, just keep on telling me you love me" - Sean Tarr

"Walk Before You Crawl": This is a reworked version of one of our older songs that we used to play way back. I like the song, because it reminds me of those days. It has a real classic melodic “metal” feel. Therefore, this makes it a real fun song to sing. It is light hearted, and should be taken in a tongue in cheek feel. To me, it’s a continuation of the song Take You Home Tonight from the TRIGGER album. Moral of the story, Be careful what you wish for, it might be ME. “Dreaming of the devil, and I'm what you got!!”.- Mike McManomon

"Rain": This song was originally written for a movie soundtrack by myself and Lez Warner of The Cult. "Englishman in New York" never saw the light of day due to lack of funding but luckily the song has. Straight up hard rock with a haunting verse section, this song reflects the frustration of a young Englishman in New York having to cope with lost love, alcoholism, and general loss of direction in life. - Sean Tarr

"9 Lives of Innocence": This was a collaboration between myself, and Kevin Blois from Gin Gypsy. It was really more of a stream of consciousness thing. Kevin met me at my apartment one Saturday and started playing this song, the opening acoustic guitar line you hear in the beginning. He started singing what is now the first verse, the chorus, part of the second verse and the outro. We tracked those bits and called it a day as he had other engagements. Unfortunately, I never saw him again. I loved the song and felt it should be completed and recorded properly. The song was lacking structure. So I arranged it, added a solo and completed the lyrics to the second verse as you hear them now. I tried to maintain the essence of what Kevin was trying to say. As far as I can tell, the song is about the souls' journey and the experiences along the path of life. It's rather abstract. 9 Lives is probably the "feel good" song of the album because of it's upbeat tempo and pop feel. - Sean Tarr

"Feel It": I had just moved in with my new girlfriend, (now wife) and was getting used to living in New York City. It reflects the feelings I had at the time, the excitement of a new and wonderful relationship, a new home, new acquaintances and new musical horizons. Nice bouncy, guitar grinding goodness for you to sink your teeth into. It was perfect for Mike McManamon's voice. In 1992 the metal we all know and love was breathing it's last dying breath. If you listen carefully I think you'll find it truly reflects the time period in which it was written while maintaining a slightly more modern feel. - Sean Tarr

"Eva's Song": As the name implies I wrote this song for my lovely wife Eva. She has been a tremendous source of love, strength and inspiration to me over the years as she has always believed in me and my music. I was fooling around with the acoustic guitar one day and the melody line came to me. There are actually two guitar lines intertwined throughout the piece, which gives it its haunting feel. It was her song from the moment it came together. I decided not to write lyrics and play a solo instead which to me said more from the heart than any word I could write for her.
- Sean Tarr

"Scream": S&M freaky deaky song about the city so nice they had to name it twice. It doesn't get much better than NYC for gettin' your freak on and letting it all hang out daddy! Another straightforward rocker meant to be played on 11 when you're heading out to the clubs on a Saturday night. - Sean Tarr

"Kill Your Idols": I was thinking about worship on this one, and is very special to me. At the time, I was jamming with a bunch of guys I had known for a long time. I was fooling around with different sounds etc. It was also a dark and ugly time for me. Which happened to be a time when Rock in general had seemed to lose it's way. I remember that there were a few noteworthy news stories at the time that resembled celebrities gone bad to role models just lost in some really dark situations. It occurred to me that these “IDOLS” of society had really let down the people who viewed them as heroes. I tried to take that thought one step further. Simply put, look inside yourself for your heros. Greatness can be achieved from within. The song, is a message of sorts to those who worship such “IDOLS” as movie stars, musicians, athletes, or whoever. If that is the case, then please...kill me next. - Mike McManomon

 

 

|BACK |

News | The Tunes | Bio/Discography | Reviews/Interviews | Photos | The Scrap Book | Merchandise/Albums |Friends | Contact Us | Home

© 2005, TNA - The Noise Addiction. No content of this site may be duplicated without permission.
Web site Engineered & Maintained by
SUDO DESIGNS