REVIEW: 21 OCTAYNE – “2.0”
When one hears the word “supergroup”, the expectations are immediately high. The glory of the bands that the members come from may overshadow the project at hand. But we don’t have any time to discuss about those irrelevant details because 21 Octayne has come up with the unusual capacity to rip everyone a new set of eardrums. Composed of Hagen Grohe on vocals, Marco Wriedt on Guitar and Alex Landenburg on Drums, this trio is as dynamic as it gets. I was completely immersed in the groove and crunch that these folks have sculpted on their new record, ‘2.0’.
‘2.0’ wastes no time and loads in a cracking opening track called “Devil in Disguise”, with a sick groove and guitar work that would make Ritchie Blackmore smile. It’s a high-tempo thrill ride that straps you in as you realize that this is going to be fun. “Take Me Back” mixes things up with a mashup between a catchy glam rock chorus and some mid-2000’s post grunge. The same ethics are polished further in the next track “When You Go”, which to me sounded like some punk-pop on a slower tempo, which I love.
The catchier of the choruses on this record is found on the track “Love’s Just a Heartbreak Away” which is an anthem for all you folks betrayed by your love of life. But don’t fret yet, for this is your cure to the Monday evening blues. Changing gears, we also get a taste of Judas Priest riffs but blended with some arena rock and an emotional dynamic shift as the narrative becomes more pronounced.
Track number six is a straightforward ballad, but with a challenge to Guns N’ Roses who broke big with “Sweet Child o Mine”. “Lost” is a great declaration to any band who boasts of writing a more melodic and emotional ballad than this one. “The Circle” is another strong track that is guaranteed to make your head bob and heart pound. “Date With Myself” is a nod to Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, with the lyrics dealing with alienation and loneliness. The track introduces some progressive rock concepts with tempo and time signature changes, but they portray the feelings of a loner walking in a solemn mood quite clearly.
“Fly With Me” fools you into thinking it is another glam-pop track, and slaps you sideways with its crunchy guitar and Arabic melodies. This one is a metal track through and through, in which I heard hints of Rainbow and Dio in the vocal delivery. ‘2.0’ concludes with a mammoth 10-minute track called “Tale of a Broken Child” with a hope-filled outro of chirping birds.
21 Octayne is like a mischievous student in class that excels in all portions of life and is the coolest kid you knew in school. To say that this album is an amazing collection of well-written and immaculately produced songs that have been treated and nurtured with care would be an understatement. The sound is colourful, vibrant and fresh, and the first listen of this record was not a struggle for me.
I wanted to hear more of it, and I did. Multiple spins on this bad boy brought new ideas and subtle instrument tricks that are hidden across this album. Rarely do I come across an album that is so well-rounded. My only qualm might be the fact that since the members are all legends on their instruments, the album could have been a bit heavier. Still. I have no prominent complaints. This album kills.