“Risen From The Dead” by Hobbsy
“Risen From The Dead” is the 2014 debut album from the collective known as Hobbsy, AKA former Smoking Joker’s bassist Benn Hobbs and friends. After the Jokers went their separate ways, Hobbs decided to put his creative impulses to work on an album that weaves its way through a veritable playground of metal and hard rock styles.
“Risen” opens with a prelude track in the form of “Second Coming” that is straight out of the prog rock playbook. A sweeping keyboard background with some ominous thunder, a couple of open power chords leading into a mini-melody. This brief intro in no way prepares you for the journey you’re about to take as each of the following tracks pulls from seemingly disparate threads.
“The Few and The Many” is a straight-forward, driving, hard rock track reminiscent of Velvet Revolver’s “Slither” or perhaps “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth. The throaty guitars and driving rhythm section drag you along kicking and screaming on a fast-paced ride that culminates in a blistering guitar solo that has definite elements of Mustaine.
“The Awakening” takes more of a groove metal tilt to it that had me looking for my old Pantera or Killswitch Engage cd’s. While the guitars still have the throaty punch of the first track, the tempo settles down into a slower, relaxed tempo and the vocals alternate between relatively melodic hooks and screaming verses that speak to you on a primal level.
The fourth track on the album, “I am”, is a complete shift from the first two full tracks, slowing down to a very reserved and deliberately paced power ballad. The opening riffs is very heavy on the Mark Tremoti processed guitar sound and it resurfaces throughout the song as one can hear echoes of Alter Bridge and Myles Kennedy.
“Your Silence” is a two-headed beast that fights a stylistic battle through the entire song. The intro and verses are homages to Tom Morello’s guitar work from RATM, but the chorus gives way to more of the melodic Myles Kennedy-esque vocals, heavy on the background strings and light on the ears. The longest track on the CD, it takes a while for this song to figure out what it’s going to be.
While the next track, “Mannya Jam” has sample of actual children from a Ugandan dance group, I have the hardest time figuring out why they included it in the album. It’s a slow jam track that feels like it’s Hobbs & Co’s attempt to go hard rock U2 on us, but really just leaves me scratching my head as I wait for the next song to cue.
“Lay” starts out as good old-fashioned thrash metal that would make Dave Mustaine and Kirk Hammett proud, then there is a breakdown towards the back third of the song that tends to drag a bit until it dies a slow painful death in the form of a keyboard solo to finish the song. It started out as my favorite song of the album and finished my least favorite.
The album finishes a powerhouse of a song in “Ascension of the Lesser Path”. This track immediately makes me think of Meshuggah or The Dillinger Escape Plan. And that’s not a bad thing. This song is probably the most comfortable in its own skin of any song besides “The Few and The Many”.
I know you’ve got to be thinking that I didn’t enjoy the album, but quite the contrary. I enjoyed seeing what ride Hobbsy was going to take us on next and found plenty of pleasant surprises along the way, with a high production value to boot. The album did seem to have a bit of an identity crisis at times, but I get the feeling that was the intent. When you have as much collaboration as it appears was on this project, you’re obviously going to get a lot of contributing influences creeping in and that can, sometimes, make for an engaging disc.
Purchase Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/hobbsy
Review by Johnny Griffith