South Of Sideways



by Nat S. USER (18 Reviews)
February 25th, 2017 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Modern rock at its finest.

"Our music is like our band name. It's got that edge to it and it's crunchy and really thick in the hardest places, but the overlays and melodies flow like water over the top." That's a quote from Edgewater drummer Jeremy Rees, outlining how the band got its name. Listening to their major label debut album, South of Sideways, it's not hard to see where he was coming from. Yes, the album has its heavier moments, but they're all punctuated by a more reflective side that lends another dimension to everything. This is something that a lot of bands have tried and failed to get right, placing half-baked ballads between typical ragey tracks in an attempt to seem diverse. With Edgewater, meanwhile, there's never the sense that they're putting it on; it all seems as genuine as can be.

South of Sideways is essentially a mix of harder alt-metal cuts and more restrained, melodic rock songs, with many tracks falling somewhere in between. Rather than taking the normal approach of alternating between softer and harder songs, however, Edgewater crafted songs that intentionally fuse light and heavy elements together. Some songs lean more towards the harder side of things, while others are more held back in nature, but none of them are entirely heavy or entirely soft. Opening track "Inhale", for example, begins with some thick stop-start riffing straight from the TRUSTcompany or Sevendust playbook, before giving way to a sweet acoustic-driven chorus. A song like "Break Me Out", conversely, opens in a more subtle manner with some picked guitars and subdued drumming, before growing more intense towards the chorus. The upshot of this approach is that the songs all seem to fit together as one whole collection, despite the varying levels of intensity. On the whole, though, the band tends to feel more engaging when they use the melodic side to support the hardness, rather than the other way around. This isn't to say that the softer songs are necessarily bad, but they don't always seem to fit into the album as clearly as do the heavier ones.

Late frontman Matt Moseman's vocals add a lot to the emotional weight of this album; his pipes fit nicely into each of the moods created, whether he's urgently telling the story of a female suicide victim on "Neglected" or calmly contemplating life and the passage of time on "Lifter". "One Perfect Something" and the aforementioned "Neglected" are particularly good showcases for Ricky Wolking's bass, possibly the main attraction of Edgewater's rhythm section. While the music rarely goes beyond average alternative rock/metal fare in terms of instrumentation, Wolking contributes some loud, standout bass lines similar to Korn's Fieldy or Mudvayne's Ryan Martinie to brighten things up some more. Song structures here are a little less predictable than one might expect from an album like this, an example being "One Perfect Something" - if I had to give any of these songs the 'epic' (in a literal sense) tag, this one would be it.

Overall, South of Sideways covers both the 'heavy' and 'melodic' bases equally well, which has its pros and cons. Those looking to simply rock out will definitely find something to enjoy here, but might be left cold by some of the softer cuts; similarly, fans of more melodic rock might be turned off by the album's harder edge. But it's a tension that few bands have managed to pull off as effectively as Edgewater did here. Being released in 2004, South of Sideways missed the alternative/nu metal explosion by a few years, meaning Edgewater never reached the same levels of success as some of their contemporaries. But arguably, if this record is anything to go by, they deserved more.

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user ratings (48)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 14th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

cool album

April 5th 2022


Album Rating: 4.5

One of my favorites of the alt-metal era. RIP Matt Moseman.

March 8th 2023


Fucking love the album cover. And every time i play something from this, i love it, so this getting the 5

August 23rd 2023


Album Rating: 5.0

Album rocks hard

August 28th 2023


Album Rating: 5.0

I have decided this is a 5

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