Some of the fondest moments of my childhood were spent at my local arena. Every month or so, my brother, dad, and I would go out and watch our local major junior a hockey team. And boy, were they fun. The atmosphere was always electric. The games were always hard-hitting, fast paced affairs, and the whole experience was pretty much always entertaining. One aspect I vividly remember from game to game is the music which was played during the stoppages in play. Whether it be Templar's Here We Go, Queen's We Will Rock You, Blur's Song 2, or Collective Soul's Heavy, the music always seemed to either fit the mood of the game or contribute to it. With its (as one would assume) heavy riff work and simple, yet effective song structure, Heavy was one of the tracks which really caught my attention and I soon (okay maybe five years isn't all that soon) found out that the track could be heard on Collective Soul's Dosage album. So I tracked down the eleven track, 50 minute recording and was, unsurprisingly, quite impressed by its quality.
Unfortunately for me, the rest of Dosage wasn't exactly like Heavy. But considering both the quality and musical direction which the album takes, that isn't as disappointing as one would think. For the most part, Dosage is a very calm, laidback album. Vocalist Ed Roland leads the way, using his vocal talents to not only capture the listener's attention, but more importantly to provide the music with a centrepiece that can hold it together. Save for on Heavy, the other band members are not quite as in your face as on previous songs like Where the River Flows or December, but their effectiveness is not to be underestimated. Songs such as Run and Tremble for my Beloved show us just how important the light, albeit useful instrumentation is. While the mood of Dosage does not extraordinarily change throughout its runtime, the consistent rhythm performances from each of the musicians contributes to the happy, feel-good sound which Dosage makes use of.
If any of Collective Soul's fourth studio album's songs stuck out, it would definitely be the aforementioned Heavy. As I had already said, the track is a simple one, but memorable all the same. It builds up excellently with short bursts of distorted guitar before each of the instruments, from the vocals to the bass guitar; to even the keyboards come together to mould the three minute track. Each member shows up, and the final result is quite powerful, as expected. But enough about Heavy, what other material stands out on Dosage? Well you could make a case for Slow. Though it contains many of the elements stressed throughout the record, like Heavy it simply does it better than the nine other songs. Once again making use of efficient instrumental work (this time the guitars are the focus) and enjoyable vocal work, Slow displays some of Collective Soul's strongest song writing. Quite the memorable song, to say the least.
Of all the Collective Soul albums which I have had the pleasure of hearing, their s/t sophomore effort will likely remain my favourite. However, their fourth effort, Dosage, is still a very enjoyable album to listen to. Calm, collective, happy, and relaxed are all ways to describe the Dosage's sound, and fans of such music should find the album quite worthwhile to listen to. Through the 50 minute album it is clear that the song writing is still developing at a rather good pace, though it would have been nice to see a little more variety. All fans of grunge, alternative rock, hell, just rock in general shouldn't hesitate in giving Dosage a shot, as it is a rather excellent album to listen to.