Monday, April 10, 2006

Foo Fighters: In Your Honor Disc 1

The Foo Fighters are a band that rose from the ashes of legendary grunge-punk band Nirvana. Drummer Dave Grohl had started as a guitar player and had written songs when he wasn't on the road with Nirvana. Most of these tracks were never released but Grohl did release the occasional cassette of his music.

Following Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994 Grohl booked some time in a real studio, pared his list of original material down to the 15 best tracks and made a demo tape, playing all the instruments himself.

After making 100 copies and passing them around, Grohl found the material spoke for itself and had record companies bidding to sign him. Rather than remain a solo act, Grohl decided to form a band, with Nate Mendel playing bass, William Goldsmith on drums and Pat Smear on guitar.

In 2005 the band released their 5th studio album, a double album titled In Your Honor, containing one disc of the band's signature driving punk sound and one disc of acoustic material.

In Your Honor kicks off with the title track, a driving rock number where the guitars, drums and Grohl's delivery (somewhere between singing and screaming) grab the listener by the throat and pull him into the album.

The second track, "No Way Back" takes the intensity up another notch and seems tailor made for rock radio. The same driving guitars and drums, but with a little more melody. A very solid track.

After the first two driving rock numbers, In Your Honor finally lets the listener catch his breath with a rock ballad, "Best of You". Best of you isn't some wimpy power ballad, after drawing the viewer in with Grohl's vocals, the song begins to pick up intensity, both rhythmically and muscially.

The fourth track, "DOA" is easily the standout track of this first album and is one of the best rock numbers I've heard for years. This is a track that will be played on rock radio 20 years from now. A driving guitar and drum rhythym make this a song you can't help but tap your foot to.

The 5th track, "Hell" is a good rock number in its own right and really only pales in comparison to the stellar "DOA" that precedes it. Still, another solid, tight number worthy of tapping your foot to, or even banging your head to (if you're into that sort of thing).

"Hell" is one of those driving numbers that succeeds by making its point and getting off the airwaves. Its short, clocking in at less than 2 minutes. Its like a flash flood of emotion with frenetic drums and vocals and then BOOM its gone.

Track 6, "The Last Song" isn't, fortunately, the last song on the metal disc. Dave and the boys like to keep us guessing apparently. While a bit of a drop off compared to the album's first 5 tracks, "Last Song" is a playable rock track that won't having you scrambling for the "next" button on your MP3 player.

Track 7, "Free Me" is a nice roller coaster of a song that never lets you settle into a volume setting on your headphones. It gets quiet, almost contemplated, before ascending into a driving, screaming rock frenzy. Only to take it back down again. It seems like a simple thing but the song keeps you listening by challenging your expectations about exactly what type of song its going to be and before you know it, its over and you're hitting repeat to listen again.

Track 8, "Resolve" is the closest thing to a pure ballad on Disc 1 of In Your Honor and provides a nice glimpse of the musicality and range the band is going to show on Disc 2. It manages to be intropsective without losing its edge or feeling like a formulated attempt to get on pop radio.

"Resolve" also features Groh's best singing on the album, showing that he has some vocal chops and that with him as the frontman, the Foo Fighters won't be limited to grunge numbers where the guitars are designed to drown out the lead singer's lack of voice whenever possible.

Track 9, "The Deepest Blues" continues the trend of track 7 but is a more consistently melodic number. The album does a good job of providing a needed transition between the driving rock of Disc 1 and the mellow acoustics of Disc 2.

Track 10, the last metal track of In Your Honor, "End over End" gives a nice rock flourish to Disc 1. This track, like "DOA" shows that the Foo Fighters a band that can combine a driving rock beat with a catchy melody in the tradition of the best metal crossover bands.

More information about Foo Fighters can be found at their official site.

Next time... In Your Honor Disc 2

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