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25 Assorted Needles

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Album Review

In a perfect world, Tubalcain would not have been obscure. The Philadelphia-based outfit deserved more recognition but, regrettably, Tubalcain was little known — which is why it made sense for the band to break up in late 1994 and for lead singer Athan Maroulis to devote his time and energy to Spahn Ranch. Nonetheless, Maroulis' two years with Tubalcain are something he should be proud to have on his resumé. Released in 1992, Tubalcain's debut album, 25 Assorted Needles, is a promising alterna-rock effort that blends industrial, metal, and goth rock. Some Philadelphians might argue that 25 Assorted Needles wasn't really a debut — most of Tubalcain's members had, until 1991, belonged to Executive Slacks, and some of the people who were hip to Tubalcain felt that it was really Executive Slacks with a new name. But 25 Assorted Needles is not a carbon copy of Executive Slacks' work; Tubalcain brings an appealing energy of its own to rocking yet darkly melodic gems like "Judas Kiss," "Morphine," and "Like Hell." A variety of comparisons come to mind when this CD is playing, and they range from Ministry and Nine Inch Nails to the Sisters of Mercy. Tubalcain isn't emulating any of those bands, but the thing it has in common with them is an ability to be forceful and melodic at the same time. Although 25 Assorted Needles rocks aggressively, Tubalcain is never without a strong sense of melody. So why isn't an album as strong as 25 Assorted Needles better known? It all comes down to connections; with the right breaks and the right connections, Tubalcain probably would have had more than just a small East Coast cult following (primarily in Philly). At any rate, this is a fine album that admirers of Maroulis' work with other bands (Fahrenheit 451, Spahn Ranch) should make a point of hearing.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

When the Philadelphia-based industrial combo Executive Slacks broke up in 1991, it wasn't long before most of its ex-members joined a new band called Tubalcain. Formed in 1992, the short-lived Tubalcain consisted of Athan Maroulis on lead vocals, Robb Jordan on guitar and keyboards, Stephen Lentz on bass, Harry Lewis on drums and percussion, and John Young on keyboards. Most of them had been with Executive Slacks, including the eclectic Maroulis (born September 22, 1964, Brooklyn, NY), Jordan, Lewis,...
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25 Assorted Needles, Tubalcain
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