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Monday, December 7, 2009

Review: A.M. Conspiracy - A.M. Conspiracy

A.M. Conspiracy - A.M. Conspiracy
2009, Burnhill Union Records

The last time we head from Jason "Gong" Jones he was tearing it up as the front man of Drowning Pool. Not happy with the direction Drowning Pool was going, Jones walked away and decided to try something new. Teaming up with rhythm section Dean Andrews (drums) and Kenny Harrelson (bass) and guitarists Drew Burke and Rob DeHaven, Jones dubbed his new ensemble A.M. Conspiracy. Going with an all-in philosophy, the band spent months perfecting each of the 13 tracks on their debut album, A.M. Conspiracy, until each song had its own distinct character and sound. A.M. Conspiracy is due for a January 12, 2010 release.

A.M. Conspiracy opens with the vitriolic anger of Revolution, colored in powerful and cutting guitar parts and a singing/screaming vocal line that reflects a form of inner chaos. Jones allows that he works out his darker nature in his music, often free-styling the lyrics as he writes and figuring out what they mean later on. Welt is a mid-tempo navel gazer full of layered guitars and a droning chorus. It wasn't my favorite track on the disc but I can see it being one of those tunes you might just be in the mood for from time to time. Pictures, the first single from the album, features the most accessible sound on the disc, revving up sufficiently to keep its heavy rock credentials but with enough lyricism and hooks sprinkled throughout to be somewhat viable in more Pop realms as well. Myself kicks over the tree house and lights it on fire with scorching guitar work and a highly emotional vocal before falling into a faux-mellow chorus. The song finds a smoothness after the first verse that's almost anathema, but Jones never lets you forget where he's coming from.

Far Away segues into the Pop/Metal realm as a power ballad with real commercial legs. Don't be surprised if this song ends up attached to a movie soundtrack down the line. It's a great tune that walks the power ballad line without giving in to schmaltz. The balladeering wanders over the cliché line a tad with Down, although I have to admit this song could be a monster at commercial radio. A.M. Conspiracy stays on the mellow side through Right On Time and Far, amping things up a bit in the middle of the latter tune, but doesn't really get going again until Absence. Even here, A.M. Conspiracy seems to get bogged down in their adherence to a certain sound rather than rising on their own creations. Dead And Gone takes a similar mellow approach, but the song is more of an epic than a wafting melody over heavy yet somehow disconnected guitars and works on some levels.

A.M. Conspiracy gets back in the swing with Believe, a big-time rocker ready for Modern/Heavy Rock formats. The Gathering finds the band out of steam again, but they rebound with a vengeance on the hard and heavy Learn To Learn. A.M. Conspiracy closes out with a hidden track that's the class of the album. For a(n occasional) screamer, Jones has a pretty nice voice when he strips it down and simply sings.

A.M. Conspiracy is a mixed bag; there are a handful of real rockers here, but the band with the all-in philosophy just doesn't seem to have the energy to match their intent on much of the album. There is some quality work here, but folks who aren't specifically Drowning Pool fans might tire of this album quickly. It's worth checking out, but this might be one of those times where you choose to download a few tracks rather than dropping for the whole album.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about A.M. Conspiracy at or A.M. Conspiracy is due for release on January 12, 2009. You can pre-order the CD from Expect wide availability both from both traditional and virtual retail.

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