(XS Records/Nitro Records 2002)Stavesacre - Stavz’a’ker

Stavesacre will offer a bit of it all on their album "Stavz'a'ker." Starting with a heavier rock meets pop sound foundation, the band builds and deconstructs from there to create gentle ballads and textured instrumentation. While Stavesacre never does wander too far from their original plan, they do offer a respectable album with some memorably melodic lines hidden under crashing drums and guitar riffs.

Obviously influenced by Tool, Stavesacre open the album with "Witch Trial," a well blended mix of heavy sounds with pop appeal. Starting slower and building speed, "Blind Hope" lets you hear singer Mark Salomon's vocals, tinged with Ozzy Osbourne's slight shrill tone, with driving instrumentation. More melodic, to a point, at least, "Alice Wishlist" is memorable with its power chords and chorus while "Island" is similar aside from being edgier rhythmically. With "A Place Where I Can Breathe," Stavesacre seems to focus on a more intense instrumental sound.

Stavesacre offer a memorable moment with "If Not Now" with soaring vocals and dynamic instrumentation. Meanwhile, rhythmic guitar pushes "Night Town" from behind and keeps it moving. "The Sad Parade" is up tempo and edgier while opening up and letting loose. Pounding drums lead into "Why Good People Suffer" as Salomon asks, "Should I sit in judgment?/Do I have to judge me?" Added female background vocals and string add warmth to "Yes," a gentle ballad. Engaging riffs lead "World To Wait," an up tempo closer that brings the album together.

With their blended sound, the songs either seem unsure of their style or too like other tracks on the album. Stavesacre give up too easily on their driving riffs, offering decent instrumentation on intros that die off, sometimes needlessly, for the vocals. But the band's mixing of thoughtful, positive lyrics with mainstream friendly heavy pop sounds might be just the thing for some fans.


buy it!