Review by Rhonda Readence
Blazing out of the DC/Northern Virginia area, 10 Gray Tuesdays is made up of Jon Lareau and Brandon Shimp on guitars, Andy Gallagher on drums, Keith Wackett on vocals, and Matt Lawson on bass. Each member contributes to backing vocals and the band takes responsibility for recording and producing their own music. With a hard core mix of rock, metal, and punk, the album Before The Beginning takes off like a rocket and blasts out of the atmosphere without a second look back.
The opening track, “Anacrusis,” begins with incredible guitar work accompanied by an intricate drumbeat that takes the listener hostage and refuses to let go. The rhythm is fast, the vocals are harsh in the best metal fashion, and there is a nice melodic hook that brings it all altogether. 10 Gray Tuesdays might not have done themselves any favors by opening with such a dramatic track. Can they possibly top this one? They do, with “Savage Cycle.” This piece carries more of a punk vibe and the vocals are reminiscent of Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day. With exceptional instrumentation, particularly the guitar work, this piece packs punch after punch. It is also lyrically sound with shades of rebellion and revolt, which will make it a fan favorite. “Bad End” starts of with some stellar guitar work and a rhythm that fans of Face To Face will find familiar. With a fantastic sound and an optimistic sense of self, this piece will inspire individuals to be exactly that: individuals.
“Thorn In Your Side” delves back into the metal world with heavy vocals that are beautifully offset by melodic intervals and a punk undertone. This band truly carries a variety of genres exceptionally well, and they do it within the same song, which is a feat unto itself. This piece is a perfect example of this and it all flows together smoothly and without interruption. “Outkast” is another metal inspired piece, at least at the beginning, with spectacular guitar work and screaming vocals. It slows the pace a bit and becomes more punk as it progresses. 10 Gray Tuesdays can’t decide if they want to be a punk band or a metal band, and this indecision has resulted in the perfect combination of both. Excellent instrumentation and confidently delivered vocals cements the deal.
Before The Beginning careens on with “10 Shades of Gray,” which begins like a slow song, but turns into another hard rocking masterpiece with an intense drumbeat and fast guitar work. This band seems incapable of performing music in a slow tempo, and this is why we love them. Heavy on punk, this piece features in-your-face vocals and aggressive musicianship with a melodic hook that is addictive. “LAEsque” begins with a high energy drumbeat that paves the way for the rest of the song. Full of liveliness and a sense of endless possibilities, this track will be a fan favorite. The rhythm is contagious, the melody will remain in the mind for hours, if not months, and this is the signature 10 Gray Tuesdays piece. This is a solid track all the way through and should be their first single.
“Gone But Not Forgotten” is the obligatory slow song and it is wonderfully done, with emotional and honest delivery, at least until the guys get going. It soon becomes the epitome of this band, with influences of punk and metal combined into a beautiful melody of intense lyrics and haunting vocals. The melodic break in the middle of the track afford the listener a new view of this band; one that is saturated with the artistic creativity that is harbored here. “Grenade” carries a foot-tapping beat that will get people jumping up and down in the crowd. The lyrics are delivered confidently and 10 Gray Tuesdays have once more topped themselves. With excellent heartfelt lyrics and a catchy rhythm, this will be the song that fans scream to hear performed live.
Before The Beginning closes with “6 a.m.” which is a very well-written piece of music and carries the talent that this band has gained during their years performing together. 10 Gray Tuesdays have created a punk album… No wait, it’s a metal album… No…… It’s a punk-metal album. And that’s not easy to accomplish. They’ve done it. Punk meets metal. Stir and mix.
Review by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)