Final Drive – Dig Deeper Running Time:
Release Date 03-02-2017 DME Management
Album Review by Rick Tilley
‘Dig Deeper’ is the fifth full length album from St. Louis band Final Drive, who have been around since 2002, but it is my first experience of them so I’m not able to compare, at present, how their sound has changed or matured over the years! What I can tell you is that Final Drive have delivered an extremely solid album of Modern Heavy/Thrash Metal with Southern Groove!
From start to finish the riffs and solos of guitarist Nathan Easter are superb. His riffs are chunky and the tracks themselves really deliver in the groove and stomp department but when the solos arrive the songs just fly. His guitar sound is clean but very heavy and each note sounds like it’s meant to be in that exact place. There is definitely a feeling of Dimebag Darryl in his playing and it’s very welcome. Final Drive’s rhythm section also sound very accomplished and together. Alex Wheeler’s drums sound excellently produced, there is a real thump to them and he masters all the time changes very well and the bass of Raymond Tucker is also very full sounding and well played. What we are left with is the vocals of Jordan Gaw and this is where I have a slight problem, not because Jordan is a bad vocalist, he just ‘sings’ in a style that is not one of my favourites and, from a personal point of view, it mars what could be a superb album.
There have been several other reviews of this album that have praised Jordan’s vocals to the hilt and that’s what makes music so interesting because we all see and hear something slightly different. Jordan, as you might have guessed from my comments, provides mainly screamed vocals but he is what I call a shouter. Every song that requires him to really ’go for it’ just remind me of an angry man shouting as loud as he can in a monotone down a megaphone and requiring a lorry load of Halls Soothers to help his throat calm down afterwards! Again, I’m not being personal to him, there are thousands of modern metal bands applying the same techniques and that’s my issue. There are so many bands doing the same thing that I just cannot tell them apart, but because Final Drive’s music stands out to me to have it then diminished by the vocals is a shame.
When Jordan does deliver a little more light and shade and in few rare cases clean vocals then ‘Dig Deeper’ works so much better as an album and Final Drive really stand out but too often that’s not the case and if I had been provided with just the MP3’s and no Biog or Artwork it would be very difficult to pick them out of the 15-20 albums I get like this every week! There is no doubt very powerful and perhaps screamed vocals are what’s needed here but there is not enough variation. They cite Pantera as an influence and it’s an influence that certainly stands out but this isn’t Phil Anselmo!
Now, if you love this genre there is no doubt you will adore Final Drive, it is a damn good album, but, as I’ve gotten older and also because I listen to so much new music, I’ve obviously got a bit more picky than I used to be. What does stand out is the guitar work, those riffs and solos really do make me sit up. If there can be a bit more variation and a bit less irate shouting with the vocals on the next album then, personally, I’ll be singing its praises. Regardless of this issue I have to give ‘Dig Deeper’ a good mark because it’s still much better than a lot I’ve heard so far this year!
- 1. This Is How
- 2. Built To Break
- 3. The Last Time
- 4. Six Feet Down
- 5. Want It All
- 6. Life Decided
- 7. Follow The Curse
- 8. Beneath Us
- 9. Of A Killer
- 10. Black Out