Album Review — Cleanbreak
Cleanbreak — Coming Home
Frontiers Records is back with another artist that they are featuring in a new supergroup. James Durbin (Quiet Riot) released a solo record via Frontiers last year under the moniker Durbin and now he has joined forces with Mike Flyntz (Riot V) and the Stryper rhythm section of Robert Sweet and Perry Richardson. Frontiers has taken similar approaches most recently with Nathan James (Inglorious, Iconic) and Renan Zonta (Electric Mob, Skills).
This record is being touted as an homage to traditional American heavy metal, so let’s see how it stacks up with a first time listen review.
“Coming Home” — The title track gets things started with a short intro followed by a heavy riff. While the riff is quite heavy the track overall is very melodic. Durbin’s voice works well with this heavy melodic style as there is room for him to flex his vocal range. I’m impressed with the opening track. Let’s hope for more of this.
“Before The Fall” — This one starts off with a darker sounding riff that turns chunky as the verses start. This track is a little less catchy than the opener and has a little more “metal” feel to it. The guitar solo is a little odd as it sounds like dual guitars but there is only one guitar player in the band. A decent track.
“Dying Breed” — More heavy riffing to start this one off. It seems there have been more bands that have taken this more melodic metal approach with heavy riffs but melodic chorus. This one isn’t quite as successful for me but overall another decent track.
“We Are The Warriors” — A little less heavy riffing on this one at the start as this one has a more melodic feel from the start. So far I am liking the more melodic tracks over the heavier tracks but we are still early in the record.
“Dream Forever” — This is very much a guitar record. Each track is built around riffs which I enjoy. This one is another more melodic track and like the previous ones I enjoy more. This one is pretty straightforward but it works.
“Man of Older Souls” — This one catches my ear from the start. Another quality riff that opens another quality melodic rock track. Durbin has a higher voice but it works really well on these more melodic tracks. One of the better tracks so far.
“Still Fighting” — A more aggressive track from the start, this one sounds like more traditional metal. Durbin’s vocal style is far more melodic so even these heavier tracks have a more melodic feel to them. This one sounds a little more disjointed to me as the vocal style doesn’t really work as well with this more aggressive track.
“The Pain of Goodbye” — We return to another melodic rocker. I’m now convinced that this is where this band should reside. This one isn’t quite as good as the best tracks but it’s still a quality song that works well.
“Cleanbreak” — Usually if a band writes a song that is the same as the band’s name, it should be a memorable track that defines the band. That’s not the case here. This one sounds nothing like the rest of the record. The vocal style is very different and very screechy. Not a fan of this one.
“Find My Way” — Almost immediately my ears have recovered as “Find My Way” begins. Straight ahead rocker with a quality riff. I’m not sure why the band chose to veer from this approach but this is clearly where the band excels.
“No Other Heart” — Thankfully the band closes the record in the same way they began. There is plenty of melody here but no ballads which is fine with me. A fine way to end the record.
I’m a little surprised by this record. I almost passed over it and the inclusion of the Stryper rhythm section and the lack of other recent releases was enough to give this record a shot and it’s quite good.
When the band does what they are good at they have produced some really good songs. There are a couple of heavier songs that are ok and there is one forgettable track that I’ll just delete from my iTunes and pretend it never happened.
Overall, this has a fairly similar sound to the Iconic record. Durbin’s voice is different than Nathan James but it works well. I prefer the Iconic record so far but for a first listen I would recommend checking this out. Just remember to skip track nine.
90 out of 100
1. Coming Home *
2. Before The Fall
3. Dying Breed
4. We Are The Warriors *
5. Dream Forever *
6. Man Of Older Souls *
7. Still Fighting
8. The Pain Of Goodbye
10. Find My Way *
11. No Other Heart *