Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
From the City Of Angels arrives ‘Divided We Fall‘, the incendiary full-length studio début from REBEL RAMPAGE.
Following in a long line of politically charged music birthed in L.os Angeles, like that from such acts as Rage Against The Machine, Bad Religion, and Fever 333, REBEL RAMPAGE are the latest salvo of thought-provoking metallic angst from L.A.
The band – Graham Czach (vocals, bass), Dylan McGee Jones (guitar), and PunKy Balfour (drums) – liken their music to an audible Declaration Of Independence. One composed with liberating guitars, unrestrained rhythms, actionable drums, and message-laden vocals.
The trio is not alone in their sonic struggle either, they are joined by an admirable group of co-conspirators on ‘Divided We Fall‘ that includes Angelo Moore (Fishbone) and Emily Armstrong (Dead Sara), among others. Unified by their shared passion for the power of choice in music, these be the people poised to light the fuse of peaceful protest, driven by their personal apprehension toward contemporary rock’s despotic, watered down, cookie-cutter sameness.
Over the span of 11 songs constructed around the idea of individual rights taking flight via instrumentation-borne wings of emancipation, REBEL RAMPAGE has come to make America rock again. That message is firmly established with the unfurling of its instrumental intro piece, “Hymn To Freedom“, and what follows it, the sultry funk swagger of “Resistance March“.
Song after solid song finds the trio hammering out some of the finest in groove-riddled heaviness. With such stellar numbers like “Not The Enemy” (one of my favorites), the soothing, melodic blues of “Women In White“, or the even more laid back blistering “Sick Of Dying“, civil unrest never sounded so good!
Some of the album’s highest points arrive with the songs that the guests appear on, “Red Star” with Angelo Moore, and “I Am The Power” featuring Emily Armstrong. “Red Star” recently received an official video treatment (streaming below) and it goes far to provide a fair shake as to the appeal of REBEL RAMPAGE‘s musicality, with its strong alt. / nu-metal nuances… and horns!
Another incredible series of moments on the album comes with the band’s take on reinterpreting a classic 1972 tune from Graham Nash, “Immigration Man“. They don’t stray all that far from the original, save for their heavier electrified delivery, and a more aggressive vocal, but the choruses resonate closely to the original.
One other track, “Scorched Earth“, is unquestionably an ideal example of the band drawing water from multiple wells (genres) and combining them into a fluid solution. Energized with a flood of uptempo proggy metal, this one pushes on hard, yet there are brief glimpses of some slightly reggae-shaded music in some of its verses.
Yes, all in all, the ‘Divided We Fall‘ album is a thoroughly enjoyable good time, but one with a relevant, ever-present message embedded into it. That message never gets lost, yet it also is not overbearing, nor is it ever the only focus or rammed into your head whether you like it or not. It’s not preachy in any way.
Instead, REBEL RAMPAGE channels some fine, infectious music that, while not as inflammatory as say Rage Against The Machine, is able to hook you with its vibrant style and sincere zeal. Everyone hears things differently, of course, but I find portions here that brought to mind acts ranging from Bad Brains and 24-7 Spyz to Murphy’s Law and SNOT.
Check out REBEL RAMPAGE ‘Divided We Fall‘ (out now) here in this review, as I let the band’s own motto bring things to a close: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall! Respect my existence, or expect my resistance!” FYI – See REBEL RAMPAGE live at their Album Release Show – Sunday, November 18th, at The York Manor in Los Angeles [Info].