HARD ECHO - TRADED SECRETS / MOUTH OF THE SUN (Independent)
Hard Echo is a high energy Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Band from San Diego, California which designs on securing a recording contract, touring, releasing quality CDs, videos, and merchandise. Formed in November 2000, Hard Echo has performed to San Diego audiences to an overwhelmingly positive response.
Hard Echo's music both reflects and carries forward the torch for its members' influences: Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, early Metallica, etc. Quality sound and creative songwriting is job number one for Hard Echo. Their debut CD, ''Traded Secrets'' was released independently on Jan. 1, 2004 and is now available at www.hardecho.com.
Their second output ''Mouth Of The Sun'' was released in 2007 and is a must have for all dedicated metal fans of True Metal with American accents, and those that have a passion for first rate Metal and an excellent performance! Hard Echo will spread their name and the European audience better beware ! That's a brief overview of the band that has so much to offer for those that are into real Metal with passionate vocals, rolling and thundering rhythm section and songs that have a 'head and a tail'.
This is pure amusement and those Americans know exactly how to confound the nowadays releases that pile upon my desk!!
Their first output opens with one of the best songs on this album that contains 10 songs with a total duration of 46 minutes. 'I Am Forever' is not only a cool catchword, it's also a buzz word that demands deference, respect and awe! Vocalist Mark Arrington is convincing all the way and his vocal chords are typical American, which stands for substantial, solid and thorough. A great guitar melody line is dragging this song forward at decent tempo and the axes deliver great solo's that are essential in this musical genre. This openings track has the longest duration and is a superb opener and performance of what Hard Echo is all about!
All music and songs are written by Norm Campbell (bass player and so called Steve Harris of the band), and the performance of all members is outstanding. They bring the metal like it should be served: hot and spicy! Tony Jenkins and Tim Bailleul take care of the six strings, and Tom Wallace is the drummer on duty. Together with Norm (Bass) and Mark (Vocals), they fuse together in a hard hitting Metal machine that has the typical American way of writing but don't forget their personal European inspiration sources as well: Maiden, Sabbath, Scorps, Priest, or best described as those that planted the roots of all Metal.
While exploring their first album '''Traded Secrets'', you get a perfect overview on the capacities of the band. They have a hell of a vocalist, that is able to go high and low, but no extravagance, and a rhythm section that is giving the songs the right attitude and sound to entertain the metalheads from beginning till end! If you want to listen to a track with a good construction, I advice the third track 'The Torch', as it has some cool intermezzos and hooks and twists in the structure of the song. There is also an instrumental track 'Salem' that is switching over into the title track of the album. 'Salem' is a kind of intro in stead of a full instrumental track, and you get the title track once more at the end, but this time it's a radio edit.
My rating: 86 / 100
Three years after their first output, Hard Echo is bringing on the successor of ''Traded Secrets'', and although the sound, the songs and the structure is improved, the front cover artwork is less captivating and eye-catching as their debut. Of course, a cd is an audio part, and the visual part is of minor meanings, but it is and will always be an attraction when you dwell your local record store. The line up of Hard Echo changed a little by replacing a new drummer! Jason Dobbs is now on duty, but he wasn't involved in the recording process of ''Mouth Of The Sun''.
Their previous drummer Tom Wallace went his own way and the band entered the studio with some temporary drummers like Mike Hoag and Roman Sylviera. Another difference this time is the composing of the songs. While the first album was completely in hands of bass player Norm Campbell, it looks like the whole band was involved in writing this new album and that was a good move! I don't want to underrate the capacities of Norm at all, but adding some new fresh blood in the composing period is also adding fresh ideas and other angles of incidence, which is a good move to the songs in general! The title track is opening the album and from this song on, it's crystal clear that the band made a lot of progress.
The songs are more mature, varied, and the strongest points of Hard Echo are accentuated! This means: strong vocals that have a better melody line, great guitars that are improved in skills and an overall better sound. This is the album that will bring the band to their next level, and hopefully, they will be rewarded with an album deal, because the guys are ready for it! It's really hard to mention the strongest tracks, because this album contains only strong and passionate American Metal, like only the best can bring!
Take a listen to the chorus line of 'Blood Red Spiders' or 'Tattoo The Sky', and you will notice that this band has a real frontman in their ranks: Mark Arrington is one of the best vocalists that I have heard in months and this talented dude fits perfect to the Metal that Hard Echo is delivering! I also want to mention the track 'Chasing Shadows' that has a cool dragging melody line and great solo guitarwork by Tony Jenkins and Tim Bailleul.
This album proves that Hard Echo is a name to remember and if they manage to get in touch with the exact label that wants to give them full support, this band is ready to conquer your soul! Keep your eyes and ears open for Hard Echo, because they are double worth to bang your head !
My rating: 93 / 100