Disguise The Limit - Redemption

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Cellar Records
Catalog Number: CL-0069
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:39:00

Disguise The Limit is the new band formed by the members of Project 814, who released in 2001 Declassified. Because they - they being Jon Pomplin on basses, Todd Joos on vocals, James Miller on piano, organ and synth, Mark Summers on guitars, and new member Steve Morris on drums - felt the music was a bit different from what they were doing as Project 814, they formed Disguise The Limit; Redemption is their debut.

DTL aren't so much a prog rock band as a rock band, a rock band bred on the likes of Mountain, Doobie Brothers, BTO, Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynard and host of other American Southern/Mid-west rock bands? I'd even say Kansas, too. And, long after I'd thought I'd finished this review, I was still thinking about it, thinking of Bruce Springsteen. It's rock from middle America? an in-between region that is influenced by the Southern rock and country coming up out of the south and down from the mid-west. It's straight ahead and direct, catchy with big screaming, distorted guitars, driving percussion, percolating bass, the sweet classic sound of organ? all lead by the mid-range but ballsy vocals. And I have to say this is a-ok with me because I absolutely love this album. (It's not a whole lot different from Project 814, however).

Each member, aside from Morris, wrote at least one song, some more than but there is a cohesiveness to the tracks, making the album seem all of a piece. The tracks mix the personal with songs that take a larger view. You get songs about the male/female dynamic (e.g. relationships) like "Last To See Me Fall," "You And I," "Part Of Me" mixed with songs that make a socio-political statement like "News At Nine," "Brothers In Arms" and perhaps the most moving song on the album, "The Janitor's Song." In between there are songs like "Rhythm Of The Rhyme," "We All Fall Down," "Read Between The Lines" and "Water To Wine" songs about folks and life? inspirational, poignant, commentary?

It is with "The Janitor's Song" that the album opens with a somber tone (yet with lots of guitar during the chorus). Written in response to the 9/11 attacks, it places at center stage the janitor ? as everyman. It is an affecting and effective track, especially when you consider the chorus and visualize the images drawn by the lyrics. And if you were there, perhaps too clearly; even those with a degree of distance seeing the events play out on TV or all the pictures published in newspapers and magazines for days, weeks, and months after? these mental images are very concrete. The throbbing "Brother In Arms" with its distorted vocals seems to encompass both the US' Vietnam War experience even while it evokes our current Iraq situation - though war and the message this song sends is by no means uniquely American. The correlations between the two conflicts is not surprising, as it so much of the recent (as of this writing) elections in the US was as much about Iraq as Vietnam and how the one (Vietnam) would affect the other (Iraq). It is a song that doesn't take sides on the political issues involved in either, but is about the soldiers who fight it? and die in it (it is mainly about the Vietnam War).

There isn't a narrative thread that ties "The Janitor's Song," "News At Nine" and "Brothers In Arms" together, though there is a lyric in "Brothers?" that references "News?" "News At Nine" might remind you, thematically, of Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry." The invasiveness of the news crews (one of the reasons I, personally, didn't go into broadcast journalism), the stuff that our news is filled with. The mantra: "if it bleeds, it leads." Much more is addressed in this song, of course. "News At Nine" has a dark, churning, almost militaristic pulse, with drums set right up at front, flashes of guitar providing accent. There is almost a middle-eastern tinge to the subtle keyboards. Summers breaks out with a screaming guitar solo (as with "The Demon Within" on Declassified, this song reminded me of No Place Like Home period Big Country).

"Rhythm Of The Rhyme" is heaviest of the album's 10 tracks; a heavy, crunchy, churning, ballsy, bass-heavy, piece. Not metal, mind, but a lot of bottom end. The jumpin' "Read Between The Lines" comes close with an almost doo-woppy, 50s rock feel mixed with more that heavy, rumbling rock. Synths (I'm guessing, or uncredited guests) provide a brassy background adding the sound of trumpets, trombones, etc. "Water To Wine" might be the closest to modern prog DTL get to, here using distorted vocals and a watery feel to the arrangement.

Tinkling piano opens "Last To See Me Fall," where the mid-western/southern rock feel reminded me of .38 Special. And frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if this track didn't make it to modern country radio (of the non-twangy variety). It might be a bit too heavy rock for that (and we get another cool guitar solo from Summers). "You And I" gives me that same feeling, even as it sounds so much like a classic late-70s country-rocker; lovely, classic organ and rolling piano? Bruce Hornsby and the Range also come to mind. "Part Of Me" switches to smoother, rolling guitar phrases (a bit Yes-like, a bit Dream Theater-like at the same time).

I think this is really, really great stuff and I highly recommend it!

Great space photography that graces the cover and inside pages of the booklet, too; especially those surreal Hubble photographs.

The Janitor's Song (My Spirit Will Live On) / Rhythm Of The Rhyme / News At Nine / Last To See Me Fall / You And I / We All Fall Down / Part Of Me / Read Between The Lines / Water To Wine / Brothers In Arms

Todd Joos - vocals
James Miller - piano, organ and synthesizers
Steve Morris - drums and percussion
Jon Pomplin - fretted and fretless basses
Mark Summers - acoustic and electric guitars

Project 814 - Declassified (2001)
Redemption (2004)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: November 13th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.dtlmusic.com
Hits: 1336
Language: english


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