Reviews for The Resounding...
First solo outing from the lead axeman of Alabama Thunder Pussy and if you were expecting Erik Larson's debut to be something similar as the punky biker testosteron rock of ATP you might be in for a dissapointment. To be honest, it's a big departure from his previous work It's some looser, bluesier/cajun southern fried style of hardrock with a lot of acoustic passages. One of the attractions and strengths of these songs is the focus on vocals as well as the music. Erik has a good clear voice but he can deliver a graspy core throat as the first singer of Crumbsuckers (they once ruled) did. He occasionally brings in a guest vocalist, a woman with the lovely name Kachina who has a sweet and smooth voice. The tunes here are often haunting and in many ways autobiographical, exposing his troubled inner self for all who want to see. The lyrics cover many serious topics and he is not afraid to tackle social and political topics as having a great ball of fire and having a good time. "The Resounding" is well thought off and is strong through out.
- CosmicmasseurJune 2003
Most people who pay attention to the southern rawk or stoner scenes know Erik Larson as the long-haired, long-bearded, Jesus-Christ-dressed-as-an-auto-mechanic guitarist for heavyweights Alabama Thunderpussy. Anyone who has ever caught ATP live or heard any of their albums is bound to be shocked by what they find on The Resounding.
Usually, solo albums can be a hit or miss affair. Especially when the band member merely compiles bits and pieces of rejected songs into a mess that only makes one wonder why they didn't stay unreleased in the first place. If you want proof, go buy one of
the KISS solo albums. So it was with some trepidation that I approached Erik Larson's new solo album. Having read that the album consisted of songs written as far back as 1997, I was expecting a half-hearted group of tunes that worked here and there, but for the most part fell flat on their face.
Larson actually played all the guitars and drums on the album, in addition to handling all the vocal duties. To be completely honest, my fears were justified after the first track, "Mine Never Was," which sounded like nothing more than 70s rock filler. Then "Our Voice" hits you square in the skull. With a simplistic and moody intro consisting of nothing but Larson's voice and bass guitar, you are instantly drawn in by the lyrics. When the song finally kicks into full gear, you are blown away. The guy had surprised me. Here was something you wouldn't find on an Alabama Thunder Pussy album. It was far more heartfelt, moodier, and the dynamics were incredible.
What quickly became apparent from track to track is that the sporadic writing process Larson engaged in over the years helped him to create an album that takes many interesting twists and turns. From the dark "Our Voice," Larson moves into the ballsy "Rede" a song more akin to the ATP sound, but still retaining that more personal vibe the guitarist injects into these songs. "Make It" flows from a dark and sparse acoustic intro before Larson once again takes a dynamic turn into a more driving ending. That is what really makes The Resounding work: Larson's ability to move from moodiness to rage to melancholy to anger while still making it sound intensely personal. He is not going through the motions like a nu-metal schlep crying about being mistreated by his parents. Listen to "Hardest Thing To Write About" and you'll understand what I'm talking about. When Larson sings he makes you feel every ounce of emotion, especially when he belts out:
"I'm giving up, you don't seem to want to give anything, you're the one you hate, but you sealed his fate, you don't want to try, you won't give the time, but still it's my fault, So I wash my hands of you, deep down you know it's true."
In fact, Larson avoids the one trap that too many southern/stoner rock revivalists fall into. Rather than mimicking his heroes or relying on the same retro-sound for every song, Larson mixes it up, showing a vast range. At the same time, the intensity of his
emotions comes pouring out the music. Sometimes it drags you down into dirges, for example on "Of Storms" or "Unresolved." Other times it nails you square upside the head with sheer heaviness, as it does on "I Feel Like Ted Nugent" or "Scoliosis." It's
one of the two Rawk albums I've heard in a while (Sixty Watt Shaman's Reason To Live being the other), that actually made me pay attention to the lyrics.
A very nice effort by a guy known mostly for guitar-driven rawk in creating a diverse set of songs that pack a hearty dose of emotion.
- Ken WohlrobMay 2003
HIGH BIAS MAGAZINE
One of the guitarists and driving forces behind Virginia's hellbilly metal bulldozer Alabama Thunderpussy, Erik Larson built up such a backlog of songs he had to spill some over onto a solo record. The Resounding is a nicely diverse collection of tunes that shows off the depth and breadth of its auteur's talent, while still retaining the hard rock base of ATP (not to mention the signature sound of Virgil, Larson's Flying V). The guitarist's songs move into more personal arenas than the general slam-bang aggression of the parent band, and he works the dynamics with a maestro's touch, so the loud/soft transitions and his shifts from a rough-hewn croon to a whisky-triggered growl sound completely natural. It helps that he handles drums as well as guitars, allowing for easy manipulation of tempo and volume. From the acoustic folk of "Happy New War" to the raging fury of "I Feel Like Ted Nugent," Larson covers the gamut of the rawk experience. He's at his best during "Mine Never Was," "Hardest Things to Write About" and "I Always End Up Being the Bad Guy," which combine his sensitive and brutal sides in ways not usually heard in the metal arena. Is the world ready for singer/songwriter metal? It better be, since Larson is damned good at it. Hopefully this won't be the first time Alabama Thunderpussy lets Larson and Virgil out to play by themselves.
-Michael TolandMarch 2003
The rock ŠnĂ roll solo albums is perhaps the most difficult of tricks to successfully pull. Acting more often than not as emotional vomitoriums for screaming, drug-crazed meatheads to unveil a previously unseen sensitive side with the ultimate goal of scoring with more girls, they very seldom arise out of an actual desire to express something. I donĂt really think I need to list examples, but IĂm enough of a prick that I will anyway. Not wishing to be too cruel to anyone, I will merely utter two words before moving along: Lou Barlow.
Now then. It is an honor and a pleasure to report that The Resounding is none of these things. I say it is a pleasure because I am a very big fan of Mr. LarsonĂs main gig with the band Alabama Thunder Pussy (or, as they are referred to in front of parents and square co-workers, ATP). Considering, however, that it took quite awhile for ATPĂs work to grow on me, I wasnĂt sure how IĂd react to this album.
The Resounding is, however, exactly what a solo album should be, which is to say that itĂs an outpouring of ideas and emotions which donĂt really fit what the main band is doing. I donĂt really know who does what as far as ATPĂs songwriting and, though that bandĂs vocalist Johnny Throckmorton does have an excellent, versatile voice, I have no idea what any of the bandĂs songs are about. Therefore, I have no idea if Erik contributes songs to ATP and, if so, if those songs are as obliquely personal as these, so I canĂt say whether or not this truly represents Erik branching into uncharted territory.
There are unquestionable similarities between the two, which shouldnĂt come as too much of a surprise since ErikĂs guitar (named Virgil, in case you were wondering) supplies much of the meat of the ATP sound. However, heĂs also playing drums and singing (for the first time, apparently) here, and the music includes full-on heavy rock which wouldnĂt sound out of place in an ATP set (opener ˘Mine Never Was,÷ ˘Rede,÷ and the fantastically-titled ˘I Feel Like Ted Nugent÷) as well as non-pukeworthy acoustic melancholia like ˘Make It÷ and ˘Of Storms,÷ and, amazingly, LarsonĂs voice fits both styles equally well. And, before we continue, I would be remiss in singing this albumĂs praises without mentioning the fine vocals of Kachina Oxendine, whose fine, Pat Benatar-like wail complements LarsonĂs gruffness on ˘Hardest Thing to Write About÷ and elsewhere.
Sounds like a recipe for an all-over-the-map splatterfest, but it actually holds together quite well as an unflinchingly introspective, deeply personal album that never resorts to the nauseating navel-gazing of so many so-called ˘songwriter÷ types while also managing to rock like two jackrabbits a-humpinĂ, something which doesnĂt happen nearly as often as it should.
-Brian VarneyFebruary 2003
Erik Larson is the long-standing guitar force behind Richmond, VirginiaĂs Kings of the Heavy, Alabama Thunderpussy, as well as the tub pounder/vocalist in Kilara. His first solo album, ŠThe Resounding,Ă has been a good five years in the making, and believe me, its worth the wait.
ŠThe ResoundingĂ is dynamic, soulful, and diverse. Yeah, thereĂs plenty of heaviness to be found, but this disc is chock-full of surprises. Surprises, not disappointments. With ATP bassist Sam Krivanec filling out the low end, drummer Bryan Cox on vocals and handclaps, and Kachina Oxendine on guest vocals, Erik shows just how much depth there is behind the ATP wall of volume. ŠOur VoiceĂ brings on the social/political lyrics, very reflective, while the music builds from a quiet beginning to an ATP-like thunderous crash. ŠHardest Thing to Write AboutĂ runs the vocal gamut from clean to deathy harmonies to shredding, and marks KachinaĂs first appearance. Man, she can sing! The lyrics are all about finding that
rare love connection and sticking with it. Ya gotta love a tune with a title like ŠI feel like Ted Nugent,Ă which has a driving riff that would make The Nuge himself proud, with a little humor thrown in to spice things up. ŠHappy New WarĂ is a cynical take on how easily people are manipulated by the mass media, and even contains some pretty (!) guitar work. ŠI Always End up Being the Bad GuyĂ starts off with some ŠIron ManĂ-like drum thumping and sinister bass, before exploding into a wall of heaviness and confessional, confrontational lyrics that any ATP lover will dig.
IĂve always sensed a thoughtfulness and intelligence in ATP that goes far beyond the ˘heavy southern rawk÷ label, and its all over ŠThe Resounding.Ă Honest, personal, intense lyrics, strong dynamics, and a variety of instruments make this one of the most surprising ű and enjoyable ű records IĂve heard for awhile. SurprisingÓÓ.. and not in the least disappointing.
-Kevin McHughsFebruary 2003www.doom-metal.com
This is an ambitious project by Erik Larson, who basically performs 99% of the instruments on ˘The Resounding÷, a real mixed bag of sounds that may have the hard core ATP freaks scratching their heads.
˘Mine Never Was÷ is a great lead track. ErikĂs jangly guitar and far reaching vocal styles leading into the more pensive ˘Our Voice÷, which takes on that Brant Bjork talk-sing style over a cool, soothing bass line. The vocals and the music gets heavier as the disc progresses, matching ATP status. ˘Rede÷ changes it up a bit, rocking in a more progressive manner, loaded up with quick drum work and tempo changes. The 8+ minute, ˘Hardest Thing...÷ might be my favourite, as itĂs lone intro guitar morphs into a heavy drum-laden electric groove, like old ATP. Also of note are the cool vocal additions of Kachina, adding another layer of depth to LarsonĂs music.
˘Of Storms÷ and ˘Happy New War÷ are stripped down, bare bones acoustic tracks, that reminds me of Layne Staley the more I hear it. The last few tracks on the disc offer up some chunky electric guitar, and another vocal clinic by Larson, whose vocal style switches to where it seems most natural, doing a kind of Neil Fallon-esque romp through ˘ÓBad Guy÷ and ˘Burning Fast÷.
˘The Resounding÷ is a great accomplishment for Erik Larson, as heĂs put together a grand collection of tracks with thought, depth and above all, rock..
I've been down on Southern Rock lately. Maybe it's just a phase, but I'm bored by the whole scene. It's like I've been listening to the same album over and over. Much of it kicks ass (in the Southern sense), but for some reason, it fails to stoke a fire in me.
So it's not really the best of times to review Alabama Thunderpussy guitarist and Kilara drummer/vocalist Erik Larson's solo outing. The man has helped define the modern Southern Rock sound. But I gotta tell ya, I was pleasantly surprised. Knowing very little about Mr. Larson except for his musicianship in both previously mentioned bands and all that friggin' hair, The Resounding is a bit of a revelation. I expected the usual songs about drinking, womanizing, and more drinking accented by a nonstop barrage of Southern Rock volume. But not only does Erik play drums and guitar, but writes a helluva tune. In fact most of the music on The Resounding is intensely personal in nature. There's more to this guy than hair .... A LOT of hair.... and tats.
Erik has been working on some of these compositions since '97, so they've had awhile to steep and take their final shape. We run the gamut from catchy ("Mine Never Was"), monster heavy ("I Always End Up Being the Bad Guy), and acoustic ballads ("Unresolved). There are two tunes in particular that catch my attention. The first being the sociopolitical lashing and wake up call for America denizens that is the amazing "Our Voice". This one starts out with a tense bassline and vocals and rolls into a slow crushing crescendo. My clarion call to everyone that buys this album - listen to the lyrics. The second, is the love song, "Hardest Thing To Write About" featuring the dual vocals of Erik and Kachina Oxendine. The theme of finding someone you really connect with in this shithole is a shining ray of hope for us all. Nice.
For those of you expecting a full on Southern Rock assault, you'll get a bit of that, but largely you'll be disappointed. This is an album that goes deeper than that - if your a fan of exceptional songwriting and the revelation of the artist through heavy music, you'll love this.
-Chris BarnesJanuary 2003www.hellridemusic.com