Review Summary: Whenever a promising band goes downhill faster than it ever could have imagined, there is that debut album for fans to cherish what they loved so much about that particular band. In Due Time is exactly that for Submersed.
Who are Submersed? They certainly haven't 'burst on the scene' with their debut album In Due Time, which seems to have not been heard of by anyone. Does being unknown mean that Submersed aren't worth your time or that they are a promising gem in the cesspool of generic radio rock? Well, neither really. Truth be told, their garnered fame might mostly be thanks to producer and friend of the band, Mark Tremonti of Creed and Alter Bridge fame. Thanks to Tremonti, the five-piece from Stephenville, Texas managed to seal a record deal with Wind Up. It is not only on the business side that Tremonti has left his mark (no pun intended), as the record clearly bears signs of matured songwriting that are rather uncanny in resemblance to the melodic works of Tremonti in Alter Bridge. But this isn't a very promising opening paragraph for the band itself, is it? Perhaps not so if you're just another close minded music fan that started cursing as soon as you laid eyes on the despicable name of Creed and said a quick prayer for the swift death of generic radio rock filth. If you have otherwise engaged your brain, realise the advantage of Tremonti's presence or simply prefer not to judge books by their covers I suggest you read on and check out In Due Time.
Carpenter no doubt has skills as a singer. This style of music needs exactly the supremely confident and powerful type of delivery that Carpenter manages to give. It is solely because of him that many of the catchy choruses sound as big as they do (“Piano Song”, “Flicker”). Even though he does not ever sound abrasive, there is a downside to this approach. The vocals can get overpowering, may -and do- take away from the other instruments, going so far as to overshadow the actual driving force behind the music: the guitars. It comes as no surprise then that after just short of an hour, this vocal approach gets slightly tedious. Especially the rich use of vibrato and falsetto can understandably be a little too much for some. Carpenter sticks to his clean vocals for most of In Due Time, with the sparse moment of screaming ferocity mixed in for good measure. These moments are well chosen, as they greatly enhance the songs they are featured in, with “Divide the Hate” being the best candidate to showcase this.
As mentioned earlier, even though the vocals are so very prominently featured on In Due Time, the real driving force are the guitars. Friedman and Davis understand the point of their craft. Although their repertoire mainly consists of strumming chords and picking the odd pattern, they perform it well. The simple riff that introduces “To Peace” and recurs throughout the song is what makes it an enjoyable listen. It's the type of riff that you feel like playing when you pick up a guitar. Lead fans are not to feel disappointed though. Small, clever melodies can be found throughout the album. “Divide the Hate” starts with an Eastern, ominous open-string picked melody, radio hit “Hollow” features empowering harmonized leads, while “You Run” revolves around the beautifully melancholic, bluesy phrasing courtesy of Friedman. Many songs feature interesting and sophisticated solos which make the record a lot classier. Not to take away from Carpenter as a vocalist, but it really is thanks to Friedman that Submersed do not find themselves lost in the marshes of mediocrity that radio rock is for many.
Alas, there is not much to say about the drums and bass, played by Whitlock and Luker respectively. The drums are standard fare and absolutely do not make In Due Time a memorable effort. If anything, Whitlock is a little guilty of underplaying. He sticks to common cymbal patterns and predictable bass rhythms. A shame, as especially improvement in the skin beating department could have made the record sound twice as strong as it now does. Thankfully this lacking is somewhat made up for by an actually audible Luker, not a common -but nonetheless very appreciated!- characteristic of bass guitar in mainstream rock. Like the drums, the bass is never complex and finds itself providing just a rhythmic backbone for the band. Luker consistently follows the guitars whenever they become a wall of sound, leaving just a small amount of personal wandering to do for the clean, fingerpicked passages.
The music on In Due Time simply is mainstream rock and as such you will feel cheated if you check it out and expect originality to hit you in the face. You won't find it here. The songs are formulaic and will not garner the band praise for branching out. Instead, Submersed have crafted a simple mainstream rock record that does things just right for what it sets out to do: In Due Time can speak to the rebellious teen with an appetite for banging his (or her) head, the sucker for sappy ballads and even the odd intellectual rocker that delves in search of interesting riffs and melodies. Ultimately it sounds like a bunch of good musicians having a good time playing good music. Submersed are nowhere near the best kept secret in rock, but In Due Time is a fresh and enjoyable record that's well worth a couple of spins.
Recommended Tracks: You Run, Hollow, Divide the Hate.