I think everyone has that album that in essence, is quite simple, by most standards lower than their normal musical tastes, and out of place in their musical tastes. The album, whatever it may be, serves as a break from the much more complex and deeper listens dominating their listening time. For me, bands such as 30 Seconds to Mars and Silverchair serve that purpose for me. Another band screaming out of my speakers, albeit more complex than the aforementioned bands, serves the same purpose. That band, Rival Schools, released United by Fate and made a catchy yet still good album of guitar driven rock.
Rival Schools was:
Walter Schreifels- Vocals, Guitar
Ian Love- Guitar
Cache Tolman- Bass
Sam Siegler- Drums
Rival Schools is a band comprised of members from influential underground bands, mostly from the New York hardcore scene. However, Rival Schools fits more into the alt-rock genre instead of the hardcore genre. Of course, since all of the members draw from the New York hardcore scene, the influence is obviously there. Every song shows off the intensity each band member possesses from their previous endeavors, creating an alt rock sound that never tires out. The sound revolves around a frenzy of crunchy guitars. Ian Love and Walter Schreifels intertwine their guitar parts together perfectly, creating some uniquely voiced chords that serve sometimes as a tranquil calm background that can switch to a powerful, aggressive onslaught within a split second. Cache Tolman usually makes his own melodies that fit well underneath the wall of guitar sound. Other times, he sticks to the roots, giving a simpler feel about the song. Sam Siegler creates original drum beats, never reverting to the normal rock beat. All of this allows Walter Schreifels to do something different with his voice- sing melodically. He obviously lacks in experience with this style, and at times it shows. He has a grunge-like raspiness to his voice and sometimes strains for higher notes and never reaches the right pitch. Although at times, his voice is dead on with just the right intensity and tone. In other words, Walter sings moments of brilliance followed by moments of extreme disappointment.
Because of the band’s experience in the hardcore scene, some of the best songs are the heavier songs on the album. One of these standouts is Used for Glue.
Starting with faint guitar and high hat clicks, the song explodes into a simple rhythmic pattern strummed on a low chord. The song switches from a guitar melody to this rocking rhythmic pattern while Walter sings over both. The chorus is a simple three chord progression, but Walter sings some of his best, full of emotion and intensity. The song then goes into a bridge of guitar effects, a jumpy bassline, and later, a reprise of the rhythmic pattern with more intensity and a screaming guitar solo. The only complaint is the chord progression in the chorus; another more interesting chord could have been thrown in easily instead of extending the third chord.
takes on a surf-rock feel, especially in the guitar harmonies and rhythmic patterns. The song explodes into the verse immediately. The chord progression descends down, much in a major and once again surf rock style. The prechorus is a simple eighth note strum creating a lot of tension in the harmonies. At a blistering rate, the song explodes through verses and choruses, getting through 3 of each within a minute. The song enters a breakdown, slowing down for a bit with huge drum fills. A guitar solo comes across. The solo is nothing to marvel at, as per usual with Rival Schools. The song ends at just less than 2 minutes, ending just before what would be another chorus.
Other songs on the album take on different identities, including bass-line driven songs such as Everything Has Its Point
, grunge rockers such as Holding Sand
, and the instrumental Hooligans for Life
. United by Fate is an enjoyable album, definitely an album of replay value with much to find in repeated listens, and every song contains something enjoyable. The band shows a mastery of catchy hooks, technical playing, and atmosphere. Rival Schools never revert to anything besides their specific instruments to create the music produced on this album, and that creates a raw, heartfelt sound.
Everything Has Its Point
Used for Glue