Up The Dose
By: Linda Spielman
When the flavor of the month has now turned into the flavor of the
moment, how does an avid music fan siphon through all the bands
who seemingly all sound the same? With the bevy of bands such as
Puddle of Mudd, Trapt, Nickelback and many others, what musical
elements can a band bring to the table in which to carve their own
niche in the alternative music scene?
With the sophomore release
by the band Skrape,
entitled Up The Dose, the Orlando-based band throws all caution
to the wind and cranks all amps to high which leaves the listeners
with no choice but to hear them. Having paid their dues on the touring
circuit with their first release, New Killer America, in
2001, the band was able to broaden their lyrical limits by taking
a more ambitious and over-the-top approach. "Over the last
few years there were a lot of highlights. . . and some lowlights,"
explains Will Hunt the band's drummer. "And it all has to do
with where we are right now, which is a great place." A 2001
tour with Pantera, Slayer and Morbid Angel helped the band develop
a thick skin in dealing with the type audience the tour drew. Despite
the sometimes harsh crowds, Skrape played on with wild abandon.
The experience of touring
with their idols--- Tommy Lee for Hunt and Phil Anselmo for frontman
Billy Keeton--- was truly a musical dream come true. "My experiences
on tour with Phil Anselmo were life-changing to me as a musician,
as a frontman, and as a songwriter."
That wild abandon has
somehow been bottled and recaptured in Up The Dose. Enlisting
the help of Queensryche and Godsmack producer Jimbo Barton, a newly
charged, enthused and musically-driven CD came to life. The eleven
track musical locomotive Barton produced was exactly what the band
wanted from the start of production. The "old school feel"
the band admired of Barton's past efforts and the way his songs
have held up over time was a core element all the members of Skrape
wanted Up The Dose to have as their final product. Barton
also developed a strong bond with Keeton during the making of the
CD. "He was able to bring my vocal performance up to another
level entirely. He and I just clicked. Jimbo created an atmosphere
that allowed me to explode vocally," Keeton enthuses.
The only way to describe
this CD is as a musical powder keg. Although the lengthy acoustic
track Searching For Home is quite a departure from the other
ten tracks, it definitely shows the musical substance and control
the band has over their lyrics and melodies. The first radio single,
Summer Song, is straight out of the gate explosive. The heavy
guitar driven track incorporates a great story, layered rhythms
and a force that makes one stop in her tracks if she is just casually
listening to the CD for the first time.
Other tracks such as
Habit, Syrup, Bleach and the title track Up
The Dose don't tread lightly on full-out sound from Hunt on
drums, Keeton's vocals, Brian Miner & Randy Melser's guitars
and Pete Sison's bass. Although it is tempting to compare Skrape
to some of their peers like Disturbed or Nickelback, Up The Dose
provides many twists and turns between track with each one having
its own identity and life. What niche has Skrape dug out for themselves
in the music world? A strong CD for people who want all the sound,
edge and elaborate lyrical content that would turn a casual listener
into a fan. The band will be touring in the Spring of 2004 in support
of their CD.