Chicago’s Rock/Metal quintet, Ditchwater serve up a new album that whilst it is undoubtably heavy, its also hard to pigeon hole.
That was, in fact the intention of guitarist, Mark Anderson and vocalist, Mike Meadows when the set out to create a new album back in 2018. They wanted to put all previous influences and experiences aside and start with a clean slate but which also stayed true to core values.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tine_yiHl3o&w=560&h=315]
Enemy Of The People’ brings the heavy elements of the past but a clearer vocal as well as melodies and a calmer chorus make it more accessible. The riff-tastic `My Last Breath’ again has a great chorus but also pulls in face melting guitar parts.
Hitting more of a traditional note comes `Against My Better Emotional Reasons’. A melancholic, slow moving track that sees Mike Meadows vocal come to the fore once more. `The End’ follows and brings in an early Helloween and Metallica flavour.
The Way You Are’ has a much more in your face attitude, both lyrically and in musical delivery – New York rap meets hardcore Metal. `It’s All About You’ takes us on a metal rollercoaster ride as the track switches between a soft vocal and wall of drums and guitar, expertly delivered.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuwq5CINqNY&w=560&h=315]
The speed of the machine gun riffs on `How Many Times’ set up the pace of this song which blends all out thrash with a melodic chorus. In contrast, the guitars start out sweetly on `Hands Held Out’ lulling us into a false sense of security as they soon rise into intense power chords on the way to the bridge. The playing of Mark Anderson and Kevin James here is truly sublime.
We finish off with Ditchwater’s take on the Motorhead classic `Iron Fist’. This is sure to shake the foundations and is well executed with subtle additions in the bass lines and drums to make it their own.
Whilst Ditchwater are definitely at the heavier end of the musical scale, what they have created on the new album has expanded, if not tamed, their brand of metal to make it accessible to a wider audience. All power to these guys!
Review by Paul Sabin for MPM