Saturday, July 23, 2005

Nural - Weight of the World CD Review

Everyone grows old, and in that process of growing older people usually tend to grow more mature, become a little more tempered, and express themselves in less volatile of manners. People calm down as they grow older—it’s just the nature of the game. Youth and adolescents usually don’t examine their feelings, their state in life, or the nature of the things around them like adults—they live awash in their emotions, expressing them with what little ability they’ve managed develop in their short experience with them. There’s a certain rawness and uncertainty, as well as some overzealousness, that comes with how you express yourself while growing up. You don’t really know how to properly express yourself, but you know you have something to express. It’s this urgent expression of emotion that is evidently on display throughout Nural’s debut full length, The Weight of the World. They’ve got emotion to share, but they might not always know how to do it.

It will be quite apparent upon first listen that this young fivesome (no member is older than 20 years old) are putting their heart on their sleeve and trying to make themselves heard, something you don’t always get from a band that’s older and a little more weathered to this world. At times this youthful exuberance will lead to songs that feel slightly forced or unoriginal, but would you rather have raw, emotion playing that could use a little fine tuning or perfectly polished, yet hollow, songs?

Along with their hearts, Nural also wear their influences on their sleeve. Their brand of emotional hard rock is far from original, but they somehow manage to take influences from across the modern rock landscape and shape them into a very authentic and genuine sounding mesh that feels familiar as well as refreshing.

The leadoff track has a very big and deep hard rock sound to it, something you might hear from Finger Eleven, minus the screaming. Many songs manage to mix a fine balance of older Nickelback flavored song structures with heavier guitar textures (a la Smeer or Strata) to create a thick, exuberant sound. There’s even the occasional quick guitar solo thrown in every now and again. Nothing like what you’d hear on a Van Halen album of course, but just having solos on rock albums is rare in today’s radio friendly rock market. Complementing the music, the very mature sounding vocals feel like a younger version of Brad Arnold from 3 Doors Down but with a little more pliability to them.

Now as much youthful fun as most of this cd is there are a few songs that really fall flat. “Sign of Life” screams out for modern rock radio play in its cliché ridden structure. The first two minutes are made up of acoustic rock with slow, mellow vocals followed by a booming, radio rock passage only to return to acoustics at the end of the song. This type of song has been done a million times before and this version is no different than any of the others. “I Told You So” is also, unfortunately, pigeonholed into the modern radio rock template that’s been done to death as well.

In the end, though, this cd is actually a breath of fresh air from a very stale genre. Leave it to a bunch of kids to show all of the veterans how to make an album that feels genuine and heartfelt. Now let’s hope that as these boys grow older that they don’t grow up and lose the youthful enthusiasm that makes this release the fun listen that it is.

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