CD Review: Maxx Explosion / Forever
Anyone who has seen House of Lords over the past few tours have experienced all what James Christian has to offer in terms of keeping the legacy of a legendary hard rock act from the late 80’s/early 90’s alive and actually kicking it up a notch with a modern day sound. Well maybe rock’s best kept secret is the House of Lords rhythm section composed of guitarist Jimi Bell, Bj Zampa on drums and Chris McCarvill on bass. What was once was classified information to the average rock fan is now a visible top notch band known as Maxx Explosion. Their debut album released on Kivel Records Forever is a 13 song collection of power, melodic hard driving rock tunes that “Rival” any band Kivel has currently on its Kamp roster. What surprised me the most about the record was the vocal style and range coming from Chris McCarvill who truly shines in his debut lead vocal duties.
“Devil’s Locomotive” personifies a lot of what Maxx Explosion is all about. An Up-tempo rock with plenty of shred from Jimi and some of the fastest beats I have ever heard from Bj. I enjoyed the speed and flow to this opening track and moreover Chris was able to keep up his vocal pace to really kick this opening track into high gear.
“Falling Away” feels like it fell off the train from the opening song and is now flying over the tracks ready to pass it. More uptempo rock with more big sounding harmonies and plenty of Jimi’s signature leads.
“Cross Your Heart” slows down the pace but not on the power. This one sounds like a HOL type tune with big harmonies and epic chorus. Some Dio-isque type lyrics “Who’s Afraid of the Dark-Don’t Close Your Eyes”. This song features some of the better bass work from Chris on this one.
‘Don’t Wanna Break” is the best song on the record because it reminds me of a Danger Danger meets Winger type of summer driving tune. Mid-tempo but not quite a ballad. Congrats Chris on a nice vocal..maybe you’re best on the entire album. My favorite for sure.
“Love Is A Nightmare” brings the band back to power rock up tempo fun. I love the solo but I wish it was longer and more of a fatter sound. Just seemed to me that the song needed a bit more punch. Still a solid track.
“Rise” didn’t work for me. Chris has some shining vocal moments and Jimi has a solid lead here but the chorus just isn’t kicking in for me. I just didn’t feel this one.
“End of The Line” I thought at first it might be a TNT cover from their great Intuition album but you know what this version it is a faster track than that one and has some great melody and groove in its own right. Chorus is memorable. A winner..
“Demon Wheel” is an instrumental and really shows off the musical prowess of this band. Slick bass work Chris..
“Can’t Stop Falling In Love” is a power ballad with what I like to call an it factor. Does it have a memorable chorus, arm swaying motion detector, would work well with female fans as well as male fans?? The answer is yes. We have a winner here folks!
“Beat Around The Bush” has my favorite lyrics on the whole record. Part Whitesnake, part RATT, part Motley Crue but all Maxx Explosion in the end. Fun song. Will work well with Strippers all over America..
“Famous” is a dangerous song..lyrically it dispels the rumor that all musicians don’t have a sense of humor or their ear to what is going on in society today. Too many criminals are front page news and I think Maxx Explosion clearly understands this. Realism in rock? Yes…
“Suicide Door” is a hand on the lap slapper with some terrific beats from Bj. Not the hardest rocker on this record but certainly has the most groove.
“Forever” is a fun ballad but might have worked better all acoustic. I like the vocal from Chris but it was a little too over the top. Try it unplugged live and see what happens.
All in all a solid effort for a debut record from a band that has potential to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. I hope Maxx Explosion has enough ammunition to detonate rock clubs around the country as one of the premiere bands to come out of New England in a long time. Impressed with yet another Kivel Kamp protégé? Yes I am.