In the beginning of this decade, there seemed to be an uncertainty of what those years would be considered in the age of rock. The heavily downtuned riffs of nu-metal seemed to be fading quickly and bands everywhere were attempting to bring out party anthems or cheesy-80s sounds. Luckily, we were saved momentarily by the monumental albums of Tool's 'Lateralus' and System of A Down's 'Toxicity.' Gravity Kills seemed to be in a limbo as well, having already been labeled as "industrial rock." While not as well known or even as accessible as Nine Inch Nails or able to conjure up a heavy underground hand, such as the ferocity of Fear Factory or Rammstein. With bands like these already laying down the groundwork in the industrial music fields, Gravity Kills pushed forward, continuing the industrial background noticable in all their songs while attempting to produce somewhat-radio-friendly material, especially in the guitars and vocals.
If you had watched the original Mortal Kombat movie, you may have heard one of their singles, "Goodbye," which I admit, got me interested in the band. At least, enough to buy this album when it came out many years later. While they've had some minor radio success with the single "One Thing," they are mostly unknowns. Still Superstarved is worth a good listen.
Jeff Scheel conjures up a vocal presence reminiscent of Scott Weiland, Corey Taylor and Trent Reznor but is still able to define it as his own. While he's able to produce a gruff edge to the vocals, his overall presence seems surprisingly calm and optimistic, which somehow works with the song. Imagine if Johnny Cage picked up a mike in the middle of a nearly-abandoned steel factory. Yeah, that's right - I made another Mortal Kombat reference. The lyrics seem to mostly revolve around fame and fortune, where even foul notes like "I want my fifteen minutes of shame" can be forgiven. The lyrics are somewhat basic and sprinkled lightly with clichés but Scheel sings with enough emotion to leave a great impression.
The guitars hold up the song even further - at least, when they're actually playing. There are some great riffs throughout the song, even if it does become repetitive. The guitars are absent during many of the verses to leave Scheel at times singing over heavy industrial noise and a background drum track. Luckily, they are able to pull together strongly at the chorus, especially in the case of the title track and the haunting "Wide Awake." You can't help wish that the bass broke out more often, as in "One Thing" and you can't help but wonder if this album is even possible live.
The album starts off strong with the heavy riff of "Love, Sex and Money" and continues throughout, letting gems like "Breakdown" and "One Thing" stand out. The latter two songs brings out the best of what Gravity Kills has to offer - catchy riffs, industrial edge and chilling vocals. While occasionally the guitars will break out into sixteenth-note chugga-chugga riffs like in "Beg and Borrow," and throw in some slide guitars and odd distortions, they mainly stick to a couple downtuned power chords. The oddest part of this album is probably their cover of "Personal Jesus." Done before the disturbing Marilyn Manson version, the song starts off with an acoustic guitar playing the main riff before Scheel jumps into vocals and caveman-thumping drums burst in well crafted with the guitars. While the whole rhythm section is tight throughout the entire album, it is only a few times as on this song where the band seems to work well together.
If you need a track by track, leave a comment. I am willing to help out. Go listen if you're ready for some catchy industrial noise.