9ELECTRIC – Album Review: Megalith
Artist/Band Name – 9ELECTRIC
Based In – Los Angeles, CA
Project Name – Megalith
# of Songs – 8
Ron Underwood – Vocals
Mikey Lopez – Guitars
Ginny Eck – Bass
Nick Ramirez – Drums
Produced and Engineered By – Shawn McGhee
Label – Pavement Entertainment
Release Date – March 29th, 2019
Genre – Rock
Available On – Amazon Music, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Play Music, Deezer
Into The Pit Overall Ranking – 1.5/5.0
Raise your hand if you’ve heard of a “compliment sandwich” … no? It’s a feedback process where a person is given something positive about them, then something constructive, then another positive. My original plan was to use this sammich format to review 9Electric’s newest album titled Megalith: though I probably hit my Delete Key more than Hillary Clinton did in her email inbox. I just could not think of a strong enough praise to start with. My compliment sandwich is more like a buffet of room temperature “eh’s” that you find at the edge of town during a road trip when nothing else is open. I appreciated that this buffet had an employee working to sweep and mop the entryway, but the BBQ sauce on the ribs is growing skin and the ice cream machine is broken. I feel the need to preface the fact that I am a mother and the wife of a musician: I understand how much time, dedication, and passion goes into making a record. I am also compelled to pair a comforting pat on the back with a “good job, little buddy” when my 2-year-old son unsuccessfully tries to put on his own shoes. The mother in me hates to be brutally honest. That being said, I do recognize what 9Electric is trying to do with this album. However, I’ve come to the decision that this record will be awarded the participation trophy with a meekly hesitant “good job, little buddy”.
I will admit, when I read my assignment email about 9Electric and reviewing Megalith, I was pretty excited to hear it. I’m not entirely familiar with the stuff they’ve done in the past and I thought with the new band member situation, their sound might be revved up with a reborn enthusiasm. Guitarist, Mikey Lopez, mentions that this record would be raw and stripped down because, “We had a reputation for being an ‘electronic’ band, and that really never sat well with Ron and I. We were always more about Guns N’ Roses and Rage Against the Machine than post-production blips, bells and whistles. This album is the most honest record of our career.” I, personally, am less-than-enthused about most electronic bands – so the fact that these guys were actively veering away from that sound gave me a tiny music boner, which unfortunately, soon turned flaccid.
You know when you’re in a waiting room and they’re playing one song over the speakers but the dude next to you is listening to his headphones too loud to another song? That’s the best way I can describe this album. A lot of the songs actually start out kind of cool but about 45 seconds in, it seems as though the band is trying to create a whole new sound that completely misses the mark. I like the ambition of trying to sound different and original, but there’s still a musical formula that bands need to follow to avoid sounding scattered and non-cohesive. Harmonies are an actual thing … you can’t just mesh two random notes together otherwise your listener will literally feel uncomfortable. Not to mention, a chorus is more than just repeating the title of the song over and over again. If you’re listening to this album and drinking (which I recommend), do not take shots every time the title of a song is repeated. You will die.
For about 90% of the album, I feel the urge to warm up some lemon tea with honey. Not for myself, but for the singer, Ron Underwood. Dear, you’re going to hurt yourself singing like that! For an accurate depiction of Underwood’s natural voice, skip over to Disposable Love or Dragging Me Down. In those songs, you will hear that his true voice is beautiful and soulful. However, the majority of the album, his voice sounds as if Josh Todd from Buckcherry were to unsuccessfully attempt to sing like Chester Bennington. The strain in Underwood’s voice is very noticeable he has trouble holding longer notes or he just goes flat, in general. Oh, and the rapping in Nothing 2 Lose? WTF, man. My advice? You have the right ammo, but you’re using the wrong gun.
Besides the fact that your name is 9ELECTRIC, I can understand why you’ve been labelled as an electronic sounding band. Even though it was stated that the “bells and whistles” were toned down in this album I still noticed a lot of technology happening. I heard keys instead of the drummer in Nothing 2 Lose, a DJ fist-bumping beat in Dragging Me Down, and some weird echo-y shit going on in Stand in the Fire that does not belong at all.
Though minimal, I do have some positive things to say about Megalith:
- THE DRUMMER IS AWESOME
- In Stand in the Fire, the DRUMS ARE AWESOME. Also, there is a cool guitar riff just after the first chorus, but it’s cut off too early. The cool riff is brought back after the second chorus and is a good length. I can’t say why it was done that way … again, there’s a formula that needs to be followed.
- The beat sequence of No Evil makes me think of an old train speeding through the desert, watching that rusted iron bar move up and down between the train’s wheels. I thought that imagery was pretty neat.
- There are some decent guitar riffs that pop up here and there.
- NICK RAMIREZ IS AWESOME.
- There’s not much I love more in a band than a female bass player. Get it, girl.
I would have liked to have a little less bologna in my compliment sandwich, but this album left a bitter taste in my mouth. Note: The heartbroken Mama Bear in me says to keep chuggin’ along and do what you love. You’re still making moves in your lives and careers and that’s fuckin’ rad.