Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

This might come off as a trite and convolute comparison, but should you recall the […]
By Daniel Fox
March 26, 2015
Santa Cruz - Santa Cruz album cover

This might come off as a trite and convolute comparison, but should you recall the bland and contorted representations of "Heavy Metal" you might see on TV shows and movies (like the horrendous 'Bones' episode about Black Metal), that is almost what I was feeling when I first touched down on SANTA CRUZ's new, self-titled album. My mind couldn't move forward past the wall of what I thought was generic, tried-and-not-so-true cock-rock. A couple of spins through, I realised I hadn't actually heard anything like them, and I proverbially hit myself for how much of an incorrect, judgemental idiot I was originally.

For the sake of some background, SANTA CRUZ are a Finnish Hard Rock/Heavy/Glam Metal band, formed in 2007. I had only just recently heard of them myself, after hearing about their recent touring with Swedish stars AMARANTHE; in fact, just the other day, I spied their new record in a local record store; being in little ol' New Zealand, I thought that was pretty cute. In fact, now, I'm rather regretful I didn't grab it. Even personally endorsed by the one-and-only Alexi Laiho, their music comes across as an eclectic, hyper-active mash-up of SKID ROW, with the raucous choruses of CHILDREN OF BODOM and a glam-soaked backdrop. Hell, they even look the part.

Opener "Bonafide Heroes" begins with an uplifting intro and leads into an unexpected assault of booming, crushing and aggressive riffs, absolutely pummelling, though that only lasted for a few seconds; the majority of the track is a booming, bassy and driving piece with plenty of soaring chords, and a fan-bloody-tastic solo. However, it's certainly not one of the stronger tracks on the album; that would be the likes of the liquid, viscous grooves of "Velvet Rope", littered with MÖTLEY CRÜE vibes, a soaring chorus and, once again, as Alexi pointed out, "awesome guitar playing". Solos are easily one of the mainstays of this record. "Bye Bye Babylon" takes a few steps into a completely different direction with a mellower, more laid-back approach, almost in the same vein of a modern FOO FIGHTERS track; regardless, funnily enough, I rather dig it, the effective guitar layering truly standing out, and Archie's vocals taking on a smoother, silkier, bevelled edge as opposed to the grittier deliveries previous.

"Wasted & Wounded" once again sees the band's love for riffs that meld technicality and catchiness; the mix of heaviness and melody that Finns manage so well; along with the earlier piece "Velvet Rope" and the track that that would now follow, "Let Them Burn", easily my favourite tracks on this release. The latter possesses a technical rhythm section and a soaring, catchy chorus.

It's no wonder these lads are becoming so popular so quickly; with this album as a prime example, I can't stress enough how important it is to give music more than one chance, because in 2015, SANTA CRUZ are veritably killing it.

8 / 10


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"Santa Cruz" Track-listing:

1. Bonafide Heroes
2. Velvet Rope
3. My Remedy
4. 6(66) Feet Under
5. Bye Bye babylon
6. We Are The Ones To Fall
7. Wasted & Wounded
8. Let Them Burn
9. Vagabonds (Sing With Me)
10. Can You Feel The Rain

Santa Cruz Lineup:

Archie - Vocals, Guitar
Johnny - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Middy - Bass, Backing Vocals
Taz - Drums, Backing Vocals

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