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In Moderation

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Album Review

On its major label debut, In Moderation, 8STOPS7 often comes off as a conventional hard rock/heavy metal band, playing sledgehammer guitar riffs underpinned by a thundering rhythm section and topped off by the gruff vocals of 23-year-old Evan Sula-Goff, who sings lyrics of youthful angst and romantic despair that border on the psychotic. So far, so mediocre. But there's something else going on in 8STOPS7's music, and though the songs are credited to everyone in the group, it's hard not to suppose that Sula-Goff, around whom the band coalesced, is the one responsible. Even when they come off as generic metalish expressions of frustration, the lyrics sound like the product of a single sensibility, not four people, and when the quirks that raise the songs to a higher level kick in, they seem even more individual. Every now and then, the pace slows, the music suggests at least a rudimentary melody, and Sula-Goff sings something unusual. On "Good Enough," he is going over a relationship in decline, apparently due to his drinking. "I want to be faithful," he sings, "but as far as I can tell, I'm not doing so well ... thus far." He begins "Wider" by noting, "Missed the meeting where my friends discussed why I'm not around." Heavy metal lyrics are rarely this clever or insightful, and they suggest that Evan Sula-Goff and 8STOPS7 are no ordinary heavy metal band, despite the sometimes generic music they play. For a first national release, In Moderation shows considerable promise. (Note: Though the album's last song, "Forget," appears to run over 12 minutes, it actually fades out after a lengthy coda at 4:22 and then there are three minutes and 45 seconds of silence, followed by "Empty," a hidden track that features the prominent female vocals of the Water Sisters and a piano played by Gary Sula-Goff, and is the album's most accessible song.)

Biography

Formed: 1996

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

8STOPS7 had its beginnings in Ventura County, CA, in 1996; bandmembers Evan Sula-Goff (vocals, guitar), Seth Watson (guitar), Adam Powell, (drums), and Alex Viveros (bass) played their first gig on February 21, 1997, Sula-Goff's 21st birthday. In 1998, they independently released their self-produced debut album, Birth of a Cynic, after which they were courted by major labels. They signed with Reprise Records, which released In Moderation in October 1999. The band's unusual name is the result of some...
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In Moderation, 8stops7
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