Review – Strange – EP I


Review by Tim Kraus

Metal as a modern genre seems to have many faces.  Some of its faces have many notes, played in such fast succession as to make each of them meaningless individually. Other of Metal’s faces seem more concerned with looking/sounding scary than making music that is enjoyable to listen to.

The face of Strange’s appropriately titled EP I seems unafraid to get dirty in its pretention-less pursuit of groove-filled metal bliss.  After a once-through, the listener doesn’t get the impression that the band is much concerned with trivialities that don’t contribute towards this ultimate goal.

In many ways, Strange’s release pays it’s dues by tapping into some of the best metal tropes of early and mid-90’s metal. Namely, this would be the obligatory scary-metal-intro track, as at least one song with lyrics to a song composed solely of the word “die”.  Chalk that up to the band paying their dues.

The release really shines on tracks like “But, I Digress” and “Shirley” with relentless breakdowns that feel like He Is Legend without the sheen of a modern-sounding recording.  At other times, vocalist and guitar player Adam Rucinski (Squares) delivers nicely on a more straightforward verse-chorus rock format, in order to give the release a touchstone or two. This can be heard on the song “Machine”, sitting nicely in the middle of the track list.  One constant throughout however, is the relentless drums played crushingly by Minneapolis resident indie-renaissance man Luke Friedrich (Squares, Crimes, Rupert Angeleyes).

Other notable inclusions are the cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”, if not only to hear Rucinski’s vocals provide a nice treatment to the piece.  More modern influences of Queens of the Stone Age seep through on the album’s closer “Graham”, which at times sounds like it could have been taken right from their Rated R album.

The sound of the Strange – EP I in entirety comes across exactly as a debut metal EP should.  That is to say the tones are carefully crafted to sound pleasing to the ear without losing the grittiness essential to the character of the music. It also sounds like two men who are cutting loose from their normally poignant roles and having fun with metal again.  After all, isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about?

Strange – EP I is available to stream or download for free on Bandcamp.

Strange – EP I on Bandcamp

Strange on Facebook

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