Review: Slowburn – The Fuse Inside

Hard Rock is a style often blurring the line between rock and metal. It incorporates any speed or sound, all while showcasing the raw talent of the musicians in the band. Milwaukee’s Slowburn is one band that fits the bill, especially with their newest album ‘The Fuse Inside.’

Starting slow with an open chord followed shortly by a catchy guitar riff, ‘Roll Out’ kicks the song into full gear after about thirty seconds with heavy drums and bass. Vocalist Christian Corchado soon enters, providing his signature clean vocals and powerful voice. His lyrics center on a fearless soldier caught in a war – a theme that blends well with the heavy guitars and rhythm section making for a powerful opening track. Even though the guitars are heavier than the standard hard rock band, what hits hardest is the Corchado’s vocal delivery. In fact, if anything is to be said about Slowburn, it’s that they have one of the most powerful voices in Wisconsin at their helm. The only complaint here is the lack of a guitar solo. Regardless, ‘Roll Out’ proved to be an excellent album opener.

‘I’m the Horizon’ was made the first single of the album with good reason – it showcases all of the band’s strengths. Opening heavy and melodic, the song slows down without losing its edge, while Corchado enters with a melodic, heartfelt delivery. It soon kicks up the tempo with Nick Corrao’s lead guitar shining through, even as Corchado holds the high notes for extended periods of time. What makes this song so enjoyable is the level of polish it has. Everything fits together perfectly, especially the wah-wah pedal driven guitar solo. Simply put, nothing seems out of place, making for yet another great tune.

Driven by Jarod Glenn’s Bass and Corrao’s guitar effects, ‘Tidal Wave’ begins with a tribal sound, before kicking into the heavy riffing and rhythm from rhythm guitarist, Luke Vitkus, and drummer, Seth Dougherty. Throughout the song, guitar effects are dominant giving the song a decidedly different sound, while Corchado delivers one of his best performances on the album. As usual, the lyrics are far beyond the generic themes usually associated with hard rock bands. Instead, it takes on a more headstrong attitude declaring the band’s eagerness to crush the competition and dominate their scene, which is unquestionable when seen live.

With ‘Parallel Universe,” the bass guitar once again takes the front stage at the beginning of the track, playing alongside a bit of white noise, a creepy alien voice, and scratchy guitar effects before becoming overpowered by the guitars and drums about thirty seconds in. Musically, ‘Parallel Universe’ is across the board, ranging from heavy and to soft with melodic undertones throughout. Despite this, it features one of the wildest guitar solos on the album and a catchy rhythm guitar towards the end. As for the lyrics and vocals, it’s just what you’d expect from Corchado at this point – deep, emotionally driven, and powerfully executed.

‘Angles’ is the album’s first power ballad and one of the best tracks on the album. Opening with a slow, eerie synth effect, this track is softest thus far. The music is very much reserved, but is a breath of fresh air at this point on the album. What makes this song shine is the catchy bass and rhythm guitar work throughout and that eerie lead guitar creeping in background. Of course, the most powerful aspect is Corchado’s vocals – as if the atmosphere wasn’t enough to keep your attention he makes his most emotional, soulful delivery yet.

‘Say I Won’t’ starts off slow; as if the inspiration for ‘Angles’ was not yet through, but once it kicks in with the heaviness, it doesn’t stop. This track, while not the best of the album, fits perfectly in line to kick the speed and heaviness back into gear. Corchado kicks up the aggression in his delivery, fitting well with the sheer heaviness of the guitars and drums that drive this tune.

Easily the catchiest tune on the album, though likely to be the least favorite of most metal and hard rock diehards, ‘Devil’s Wing’ has a distinct groove that doesn’t quit. Unfortunately, it sounds very radio friendly and very much like something Nickleback might play. In fact, Corchado, while doing great with his vocals as usual, sounds strikingly similar to Chad Kroeger on this one. Comparisons aside, the groove of this track is undeniable. It will get in your head and it won’t leave – whether that’s a good or bad thing is a matter of preference. Either way, seven tracks in, Slowburn is still burning bright.

Ending a great album on a high note is the main goal of any band and Slowburn hits the target dead on with ‘The Hunter.’ Heavy, rhythmic, and melodic, this track is one of the hardest tracks on the album, especially when the lead guitar shreds through his guitar solo over a downtrodden rhythm section. The only downside is that the backing vocals meant to duel with Corchado during the chorus has a very Nu Metal quality to it. Once again, this is a matter of preference and certainly not poisonous to the rest of the song.

With eight versatile tracks, Slowburn’s ‘The Fuse Inside’ is just the right length with enough variety to keep the listener interested and howling for more. The band has come a long way since their EP’s ‘Blind’ and ‘Slowburn’ greatly refining their style and pushing their performance to higher levels. While not every song is going to be a hit, ‘The Fuse Inside’ has something for everyone to enjoy and is an overall great album that shouldn’t be missed. 9/10

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