Naked Mole Rats - Naked Mole Rats

Year of Release: 2001
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 18:00:00

Naked Mole Rats. What does that name suggest to you? RIO or avant-garde perhaps; something to be found on the Cuneiform label maybe? Maybe it's the Mole part that make me think of Matching Mole. At any rate, whatever I thought I was going to hear is not what I eventually heard. I'll admit that this four-track demo release arrived some months ago, so this isn't a new release. According to the band's website, they're still working on their first full length album.

So, what will we find here? A cross between Iron Maiden, White Zombie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, punk and nu-metal. For my tastes, there's a little too much of the latter two and too little of the first, though vocalist Danny Eng does sound a lot like Bruce Dickinson. Perhaps the band's weakest aspect are the lyrics - which are mainly over written. An example is the final track, "Dragon." The whole feel is of Iron Maiden and from that perspective it's okay. But what should be a tight little chorus at four lines is several lines too long. Or maybe there's just not enough pause between the chorus and second verse... looking that the printed lyrics at their website, it seems to be the former.

"Dark Romance" is intended to be a dark, sexy track, and the sound of it works, with Eng delivering the lyrics in breathy tones. However, the adolescent sexuality of the lyrics provides, at least to me, some unintended humour. Romantic it's not (looking at the enclosed photo, I'd guess that the band members are at least a few years out of high school, maybe mid-twenties). Humour creeps into "Get Off Your Ass," this time certainly intentional, though the message of one being all talk and no action is also pointed. Though if the band pursued this avenue of metal they'd be lumped along with Ugly Kid Joe, and their career would go no futher than novelty metal. Though not great and awkwardly delivered, "Here I Come" is the best track here -- and despite the title, isn't another song about sex. Well, it's a component, but a little more mature. The dark theme of a lover lost (through death) makes one think of Nevermore, Evergrey, etc. (in very general terms), though we must say that Naked Mole Rats have a bit of growing as a band to do before they could really be named in the same breath.

As you've probably guessed, I'm rather underwhelmed by this release. I can't even say that maybe in their finished form things would be better. You can listen for yourself at their MP3 site, as all four tracks are available there.

[Since this release, the band changed their name to Little Dead Riding Hood? and seem to have fizzled?]

Dark Romance / Get Off Your Ass / Here I Come / Dragon

Bruce Gatewood - guitars
Danny Eng - vocals
Mark Mari - drums
Frank Baron - bass and keys

Naked Mole Rats (demo) (2001)
Fortune Cookie Monster (2002)
Little Dead Riding Hood - Unhinged (2002) (same album as FCM, renamed)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: May 18th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 600
Language: english


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