I quite enjoyed the first major label release from Event, basking in the mathematical, progressive turns and unique, mechanical sounds. It wasn’t the greatest thing since the Garden Weezul, but it was most certainly different, a good different. With Scratching At The Surface this band has given their elegant robot a soul. Like any complicated machine there are many things going on at once resulting in a true “everything and a double kitchen sink” production. It also helps that these Berklee School of Music grads are in complete control of their own music, providing ample time to fine-tune and tweak each of the multiple layers inherent in each song. Those with Attention Deficit Disorder will find many shiny objects to distract the mind and yet, it’s tasteful … often full but never busy.
Event have continued their search for unique sounds. While you would think from listening that you hear electronica and synth sounds, the band insists that all the sounds start with guitars and that effects boxes, and computers are used to create the flurry of aural delights. But all the gizmos in the world can’t make up for a poorly written song. Event has that covered as well, taking obvious influence from King’s X and Alice In Chains, meaning melody is king and vocal harmonies are queen.
“Make Your Way” explodes the jewel case open as the opener, making it very clear what this band is about: raw energy polished by the crush of heavy guitars in a bed of melody. Heavy on groove, “Under My Skin” makes up for the lack of feel from the first album. The vocalist apparently worked at making the vocals emote, and along with the body-moving groove the listener is hit over the head with buzzing guitars while their body moves uncontrollably to the beat. Nearly an ode to later King’s X is “All Too Real” which delights in a chunky, hammering guitar riff that is unbelievably solid. “Live Life Love Breed” walks the dangerous line of Nine Inch Nails industrial with a pure rock motor, never once falling into cliché. Fans of progressive will enjoy the 7/4 meter of the creepy “Won’t Come Loose” and the 14/4 off-kilter sound of “Siren” that jumps to an orchestral bridge before swan diving into a pleasing 4/4 chorus, all with their usual plethora of engaging sounds. The album ends in a frenetic ride known as “Too Much,” one minute careening out of control with stuttering guitars a la Sevendust and the next floating on a melody coated in vocal harmonies before gleefully plummeting again into the cacophony.
I know this music isn’t for everyone and will probably never get on the radio … just another crime against the arts because this music is so well done, so inventive not only in melody but also in sound and form that I have no doubt that every musician and studio guru could learn at least a few new tricks from this release. Highly recommended for lovers of heavy melodic and headphone music.
Originally published 2003 in WhatzUp.