By Gary Wright
ABSOLUTE POWER 'Brick By Brick' (2013) [Retrospective]
ABSOLUTE POWER is a 5-piece groove metal band from Des Moines, Iowa. They are a no-holds-barred, hard-hitting machine that brings to mind images of, for me, bar brawls, biker gangs and broken noses. Coming in at around 20 minutes long, this debut 6-track EP, 'Brick By Brick' (2013), was recorded, engineered and produced by Ben 'B-REX' Monroe of Audio Aggregate Recordings also in Des Moines, Iowa. The line-up that recorded this release was a 4-piece consisting of Tim Sirianni Jr. on vocals, Brent Bartscht on guitar, Roy Milligan on bass, and Will Eklund on drums. Also of note is Casey Gray, who is credited along with AP for writing all tracks except one and four, which were written solely by the band. Tim, Roy and Casey started ABSOLUTE POWER but Casey has had to step down a few times, such was the case with the recording of this material. Casey is the AP's second guitarist. The band has since gone through a number of line-up changes, being both a 4- and 5-piece, and continues to this day as an increasingly capable beast.
There's a reason that AP insist their name be stylized with all uppercase letters as 'ABSOLUTE POWER', as it projects the same bad attitude and need for recognition as their music. One of band's musical influences is Texan groove metal/thrash metal band Pantera, and they even use a very similar big, bold, font for their logo as their big label inspiration. AP's sound is a barrage of hard-hitting, angst-ridden vocals spewed with dastardly perfection by local scene veteran Tim Sirianni Jr., whose stage presence itself is enough to instigate violence. The guitars are no frills, straight-to-the-point chuggery, with a few groovy riffs here and there for good measure. The bass comes thick and hard and the drums are a solid staple to the band's underlying soundtrack of a street riot.
An interesting fact about AP is that one of vocalist Tim Sirianni Jr.'s biggest influences is the New York-based groove metal/hardcore punk band Pro-Pain. Ironically, Pro-Pain released a studio album in 2010 called 'Absolute Power'. When asked if the band got their name from the album title, Tim says "Lol no... we were around before that album came out... I did find it kind of funny that one of my biggest influences named an album the same as my band." Tim continues "Although I did meet Gary [Meskil] the vocalist/bass player at one of their shows right before that album came out. I told him that I played in a band called Absolute Power, that was influenced by Pro-Pain and actually covered a couple of their tunes, I don't know if that triggered anything, but a about a year later their next album was called Absolute Power... lol"
Carve My Eyes is the first track and is a foreboding piece that sets a steady pace and hint of the anarchy to come. Opening lyrics "I want to carve my eyes out so I can't see you anymore" give an indication to the lyrical content of this band.
Brick By Brick is the title track of the EP, and starts off as an equally down and dirty affair, followed by muffled vocals before it opens up into a big, anthemic number that really begins to get your blood pumping and a desire to crack skulls.
Fall Apart is really a favorite of mine, partly because it was the first song that I ever heard by the band. It's a much more groovy track, and the guitar riffs are super catchy, with drums that complement perfectly. Slightly faster-paced than the other tracks, it has an almost cheery atmosphere, even if that cheer is only to stand, foot-on-chest of a defeated adversary.
Drowning is a track that the band has previously released as a single, with accompanying music video. One interesting point of note is that the music video was directed by a guy named Thor Moreno, who runs his own film company, Global View Productions. Thor was previously guitarist in an earlier Des Moines metal/hardcore band called Pushing Earth, along with Tim Sirianni Jr. who once again filled the position of vocalist. Another high octane display of aggression, this song is the perfect example of the band's self-proclaimed genre of 'stompy chompy'. Caustic vocals, shredding guitars, intimidating bass, and pummelling drums set the scene of a violent altercation between drunken truckers outside some dust-laden desert bar on a road to nowhere.
Power Trip is a track that opens up with big guitars and skilfully-handled drums, before angry vocals set-in giving views on the abuse of power. At nearly three quarters of the way through, there's a slight change in the music and the vocals switch from scathing screams and rants to what could be thought of as a harsh rap style. A brief moment of silence is then followed by a return to the track's usual character.
Put The Hammer Down is a slower, darker and more daunting track that displays multiple vocal styles and layers, solid guitars, brooding bass and striding drums that set a statement of a band not to be messed with. An ominously heavy track, this is a thought-provoking close to a boot-to-ass set of songs.
Often frustratingly and wrongly overlooked within the Des Moines rock and metal scene, ABSOLUTE POWER has outlived many of its contemporaries and competition. Having gone through a number of line-up changes, the band has managed to maintain their sound where others may have strayed, and have stuck to what they know and love... hard and heavy metal with a boldness that others would fail to carry. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the band for sending me a bunch of merchandise including this very CD, and for urging me to get off my butt and do a review of it. I didn't get to do a review of this release when it first came out, so this is really the first retrospective review that I've done. ABSOLUTE POWER are now back up to a 5-piece with their newest line-up of Tim Sirianni Jr. on vocals, Bill Kingery on guitar, Casey Gray on guitar, Roy Milligan on bass, and Mike Ramsey on drums... and are currently finishing their new album. So, keep an eye out for that... it promises to be a stomper!
*** I'd like to thank Tim Sirianni Jr. and Casey Gray for providing and confirming details. ***
Note that this review was written for the [HammerFist Rose] website, where this review is published. This review is published on this website with permission.
ABSOLUTE POWER's 'Brick By Brick' EP is now available to stream on YouTube.
ABSOLUTE POWER (Facebook)
Absolute Power (ReverbNation)
ABSOLUTE POWER - Brick By Brick EP [hosted at Dark Ages YouTube]
Absolute Power "Drowning" OFFICIAL video