Supergroup: a music group formed by artists who are already notable or respected in their fields

It’s a concept that is formed in dreams and serves as the answer to “what if…” in music. Even though the idea would lead you to believe that nothing but great things can happen from these conglomerations, for every Down, Palms, or Fantomas there are those on the opposite side of the spectrum in the likes of Hell Yeah, Damnocracy, or Audioslave. Sometimes the great minds only work when they are on their own and too much creative juices can ruin a good thing. It’s kind of like the too many cooks theory.

Needless to say, when I heard that Max Cavalera and Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) were kicking around the idea of starting a side project, my interest was there but the diversity between the two’s back catalog made me wonder if they could pull off something cohesive. Then when I found out sometime later that Troy Sanders of Mastodon and David Eltich, whose resume includes playing for Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, and Mars Volta, I was even more perplexed in how this was going to work. Even though each member, aside from Eltich, has a history in heavy music, their individual acts couldn’t be further away from eachother. I didn’t have the slightest bit of hope for this and expected an unlistenable mess, even with Cavalera’s history in “supergroups” like Nailbomb and Cavalera Conspiracy.

Well I guess I can eat crow with this one. While I’m not sure how I necessarily feel about the final product yet, I can definitely say that it worked. The bluesy/southern progressive style that Sanders is more known for seems to be the main focus but Puciato, who serves as the bands lead guitarist, is able to blend in a lot of the melody that has made its way onto DEP records since his joining of the band. Cavalera and his signature tribal-thrash delivery serves as the core that the rest of the band builds off of and Elitch successfully brings the entire idea together with creative groove and lots of double bass. There are even hints of punk hardcore sprinkled throughout. While some reviewers will say that all three vocalists get equal time to shine, this would be a lie. Troy Sanders gets the nod as the lead vocalist, with Greg Puciato picking up for most of the choruses and melodic parts. Puciato also adds the most diversity with his vocals with his wide range between screams and cleans. Max delivers his gruff screams only during each songs heavier parts or to accent as a backing vocals. It’s kind of odd but refreshing to see Max not play the role of the central figure and blend in with the rest of the band.

While there is a lot I really, really like about this record, there are some things that don’t sit that well with me. Most notably is that this record has a ton of radio friendly parts. Just one listen to the album’s first single, Wings Of Feather And Wax, and you’ll quickly pick up on what I’m talking about once Puciato kicks in with the chorus. However, there is something very polarizing in how it’s presented that I can’t get melodies like that particular chorus out of my head. It’s not something I’d normally gravitate towards but even knowing that on a normal day I’d hate this, I find myself singing along. It’s definitely an anomaly for me. At the end of the day this album will most likely be a love/hate type of record. They definitely pull of a cohesive sound but it has enough “safe” parts that it may drive a lot of people away from it. Aside from it being mind-boggling catchy, I’m still not sure where I fit.