Strap On Halo
Cherry Flavored Quick Fix EP


4.5
superb

Review

by Acanthus USER (46 Reviews)
June 30th, 2011 | 7 replies | 4,854 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When vocals were beautiful yet dark, guitar was driving yet tasteful, and bass could actually be heard; do you remember gothic rock?

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Gothic influenced rock is not exactly a thriving genre, indeed finding a concert venue with a line-up of like sounding bands is neigh-on impossible in most places. Luckily for those who still fondly remember the ambiance of Bauhaus, the haunting vocals of Dead Can Dance, and a time where bass lines were an intrinsic part of each track there is a new band resurrecting this classic sound; Nebraskan trio Strap On Halo. Originally formed in 2003 the group disbanded only to be brought back to life in 2009 with a new lineup and a desire to produce music; three tracks were quickly written, and a remix by Martin Atkins of Ministry and Killing Joke fame made the four track Cherry Flavored Quick Fix E.P. complete.

The musicianship of the band is a highlight, one of the first things that easily sets Strap On Halo aside from its contemporaries is the voice of Layla Reyna. Her vocal prowess is truly something to behold, the power and slight haunting quality of her voice allow each track to come across as being both strong and beautiful. Sean Rial gives a stellar performance on lead guitar, and while his playing would fit in with any group in the genre's heyday this is not straight fan service; he is extremely talented in his own right. Marc Jones's bass actually makes his bass line a viable part of each and every track, a treat for any fan of that driving thrum hardly found in most bands today.

Album opener “I Feel Like Yesterday” starts off strongly; a soft percussion intro followed by Rial's distinctly tuned guitar and Jones strong bass lays the ground work for Reyna to quietly utter “all those lost moment in time/distant years left to linger/how I yearn for their return/all those absent memories.” Afterwards a slight break peacefully intervenes, only to be swept aside by feverish bass chords and thundering lead guitar work. The chorus of “I feel like yesterday/ I feel like yesterday...over again” is both lyrically sound and done with grace, not rushed and urging for radio playtime. When the track closes it does so quietly and tastefully, and as Reyna's vocals fade away the groups potential becomes clear. The level of instrumentation and lyrical prowess found throughout this opening track shows the members talent as both individuals and as a band, this is not some talent-less group trying to use the gothic label to garner attention.

The other three songs strong points continue to revolve around the groups members. “It's All Over” has quieter feel that allows the bass to come even farther to the forefront while “Chemical Nation” features the E.P's strongest intro as well as Reyna's best performance; the layering of softly whispered lines overlaid with the power of her vocals is quite a treat. The remix of “I Feel Like Yesterday” departs from the classical gothic theme the E.P. has so gracefully accomplished so far; Mark Atkins arrangement of staggered, repeated vocal lines allow the guitar and bass to take over the track in harmony. Rial really shines here, at times his guitar sounding so distorted that it is almost unrecognizable. All this is done with a level of class and production that makes other groups first efforts seem amateurish in comparison.

The Cherry Flavored Quick Fix E.P. is addicting, fun, and extremely well put together. The vocals, bass, and guitar are all allowed to shine individually and as a whole throughout the four tracks. Mark Atkins remixing of “I Feel Like Yesterday” adds variation for those who might get bored by the sound of the other three songs, and just having his name attached to the E.P. gives it a boost. The only downside of the E.P. is the nature of all good E.P's; the length. Luckily for fans the group just released a full length album titled The Dead Don't Lie that should help them get over the 17 minute length found under the lovable cover art of the Chery Flavored Quick Fix E.P.. Strap On Halo's first foray into the gothic genre is strong, this is one group fans of the genre should keep an eye on.



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user ratings (2)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Acanthus
June 30th 2011



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If there's an issue, especially regarding my grammar, let me know!

Albums stream/purchase/tour dates -> http://straponhalo.com/album/cherry-flavored-quick-fix-ep



Digging: Symphony X - Paradise Lost

Acanthus
June 30th 2011



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The first outright spam I've yet to see on Sputnik :/

Edit: Sweet, mods woke up and took it down.

pizzamachine
June 30th 2011



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm listening to an epic album currently but I'll listen to this later. Pizza pos.

Acanthus
June 30th 2011



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet, thanks man. I bought this before hearing them in concert, limited number of the physical albums so I had to have one. I think you might enjoy it, but I'm not sure where you stand on the genre.

Enjoy the epic album, Nightwish's Once is rocking through my headphones atm.

pizzamachine
June 30th 2011



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really enjoy gothic metal so I'm guessing I'll like this.

Acanthus
June 30th 2011



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You might at that then, I plan on reviewing the full release when I get around to listening to it - luckily I was able to get both signed by the band as well.

Acanthus
July 1st 2011



9510 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd enjoy having the neg explained to me, as if they are just randomly given the chance of improvement and growth dwindles.



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