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CD Reviews: Skrape
Skrape: Up The Dose
February 2004
By: Linda Spielman
album cover of Skrape's Up The Dose

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.