Review Summary: This is a good album for fans of the melodic hard rock, but if you don't care for the genre, don't pick this up cause it doesn't do anything you haven't heard before. Faktion is decidedly average, but worth a listen if you enjoy 10 years or Shinedown.
Faktion is one of a wave of radio ready hard rockers that aren't particularly good. However, unlike the undeniably horrid Hinder from the neighboring state of Oklahoma, this Dallas worth band is worth at least a few megabytes of space on your hard drive. While the vocals and percussion on this album aren't anything special, the guitar playing is quite good, and there are some meaty (for a hard rock band) solos.
Faktion came out of obscurity and got a deal with Roadrunner to release this album. They have since parted ways with Roadrunner and dumped their lead singer--so hopefully vocals will improve in the future, but anyway, back to the album at hand.
There really isn't all that much to say. The music is simplistically constructed with familiar structure, predictable lyrics, and nothing out of the ordinary. I knew when the breakdowns were coming the first time I listened to the each song. With the exception of a nicely built instrumental to "Maybe"(the song quickly goes down after Ryan starts singing) and a poorly done country twang on "Pilot" all the songs fall into the "radio hard rocker" or the "melodic power ballad" categories.
So why am I giving this album a respectable score since it is quite predictable? For one, the guitar work is above average. There are a good number of solos, and when the listener isn't subjected to bland lyrics, the songs' part fit together pretty well. The mixing by Brett Hestla (Dark New Day) is well-polished. Faktion also does a good job of sticking to the hard rock formula and making it sound right. It's like paint-by-the-numbers art, it still looks good, it just isn't even remotely original.
The song "Always Wanting More" is a stand-out cut with exceptional guitar work, better than average vocals and lyrics that are at least mildly clever. The intro has a bit of raw energy and edge that is lacking on most of this cd.
On the soft side, the ballads are much better than many other bands in this category. Don't expect gag-worthy lyrics of the type we hear from Nickleback and Hinder. "Distance" is a nice ballad that is pleasant and emotional without cheesy lyrics.
There are a couple of duds in here, but they are pretty late in the cd, and most of the songs will have blended together in your head before you get to "Who I Am" or "Better Today" anyway.
I'm having trouble with this review cause this band is so formulaic. Basically, if you like 10 Years, Shinedown, Evans Blue, or Dark New Day, you should like this cause Faktion ripped them off but made it sound good. Besides flashes of guitar virtuosity, there is nothing that stands out, but hey, it's not a bad thing if you're in the mood for something new that will sound familiar from the moment you pop it in. 2.5/5 Recommended for fans of the genre or the similar listed bands. If you like the likes of Hinder, Creed, or Nickleback, this album could possibly lead you on the road to recovery. If you don't care for the genre, skip this.
Always Wanting More (the only one that is an essential track to get)
Take It All Away