Italian label Cruz Del Sur Music rarely gets it wrong when they sign a band, and with New York’s Tower they would appear to have gotten things spectacularly right. All ten tracks on the band’s second full-length album, Shock To The System, are bona-fide rippers with not an ounce of flab or fill to get in the way of the listener’s enjoyment.
From the opening scream which introduces first track Blood Moon, you’re aware that vocalist Sarabeth Linden might be a bit of a find. Possessed of a cheesegrater howl that immediately brings names like Leone and Turner to mind, Linden leads from the front, imbuing every song with the sort of wild-eyed conviction only those fully aware of their talents possess. She’s an absolute whirlwind of doom, taking metallic chuggers like Running Out of Time not just to the next level but to new, as-yet uncharted stratospheric realms with one twitch of a leather-lined lung. On the revelatory Lay Down The Law she even sounds like Cher – no thing in this writer’s book – fronting Armored Saint. This really is the good stuff, and then some.
Guitarists James Danzo and Zak Penley need their share of the plaudits too, for coming up with some coruscating axe work between them; As a quartet (rounded out by drummer James Jones – bass was provided for the SttS sessions by Jeff Filmer) the band keep things lean and exceptionally mean, which gives few chances for anyone to really stretch out. But that keeps things punchy and impact is high, especially on the faster numbers like Hired Gun, The Black Rose or incendiary closer Powder Keg, and this decision undoubtedly keeps the listener engaged and excited throughout.
The more considered In Dreams allows the band to ease off the gas a little over the course of it’s near-seven minute duration, but for the most part this is an absolute fest for headbangers and air guitar-toting bons vivants everywhere – enjoy!
Shock to the System releases on November 12th.