And, honestly, the more I listen to this, the more I realize it’s about what I expected. Bitten isn’t a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but at the same time it really doesn’t offer anything too unique or inspiring. It clearly does try to hold that rebellious Punk attitude that eighties into nineties Rock had, and it does it well enough to also maintain an accessable side for major rock radio outlets. Just about every song I encountered was rather catchy, though always seemed to play it rather safe most of the time. The distortion on the guitars and slightly louder bass gave it a nice kick, but at the same time the modern production has me just picturing it sandwiched between the latest Three Doors Down and Nickelback singles on my local modern Rock station.
One of the biggest fears was the contributions of female vocalist Helena Cos, and so far my expectations have been met. She does a decent job, but for the most part her voice isn’t anything too special. It feeds into the rebellious sense well enough, but doesn’t make me believe she has that strong an attitude to really feel at home with the atmosphere being woven. In fact, while it sounds good, it ends up too innocent much of the time to match the heavier material sometimes played. “Gasoline” does a good job at really coming off more like a harder modern Rock song, maybe something along the lines of Fuel but a little heavier and forged from the grittier eighties Jersey streets. The upbeat start with “Going Down” really did impress me with the edge it had, while still being catchy and light enough to appeal to the every day listener despite what era he or she had grown up in.
One thing I didn’t really like too much was the background male vocals that appeared almost randomly. Sometimes they would join in with singing, but there were other times, like with “Twilight Zone,” where it was just talking with a background distortion used. This song I also didn’t like too much thanks to how close it felt to a modern Country Rock style offering at times, though never really violating the eighties Rock atmosphere. I could sense a bit of that in some of the chords for “Bring Me Around,” which again had vocals that didn’t quite match the heavier tone of the song, being a bit too clean and innocent for what it needed, which led me to think of a stronger presence like Sister Sin or Doro working out better. The only other track I didn’t like was “So High,” which clearly is meant to be a bit of an early Stoner Rock influenced song, and the angelic vocals just don’t work out too well with it. But it wasn’t just that, as the music itself was too simple and slow to really grab my attention. It just ended up rather dull. “Scream” kind of carries the same concept, but it’s just all around stronger in performance, extra energy, and the vocals feel more suiting, allowing me to not feel like I should hit the skip forward button.
The best way to sum up my impression of this album so far is to say that, regardless of their intentions, Spider Rockets seems as if it were originally meant to be more of a bar band than anything, but definitely one of the top names in that field. In all honesty, I had fun with it, and that’s clearly what this is meant to do for the listener. I didn’t get to wrapped up in any single song, nor did I feel let down by any element of it. I just kicked back during the last hour of my regular day job and unwound with this on more for background noise than anything. While this isn’t my cup of tea, and I more than likely won’t be adding it to my collection unless someone gives me a copy, but I have plenty of friends into Rock, and I can easily see them getting into this group. If you’re a fan of modern Hard Rock, and like the edge the eighties gave to it, I do suggest checking this one out, but only when you get a chance. In no way do I see this as a hands down must own album of the year entry, but it’s catchy, edgy, and accessable enough for today’s fans of the style to get a little more enjoyment out of it than I did.
Article based on digital review material provided by P-Dog Records via Freeman Promotions.