Review! Parade of Horribles – “Something for Someone”

Earlier this month, the San Diego duo known as Parade of Horribles put out a full-length album titled Something for Someone.  Now when I say “duo”, please do not rush to think of The White Stripes or The Black Keys.  Sonically, POH don’t sound anything like the aforementioned…not even a little bit.  In fact, you shouldn’t even think of a duo at all.  Instead, think of a full band, because that’s how much instrumentation is going to come at you on this recording.  The core members Jason York and Chris Mazzola with some additional guitar help from Dylan Blanton (ex Sic Waiting), put together one heck of an interesting album with a wide spectrum of different influences while staying firmly rooted in punk and metal.

The main thing that should jump out at you on this album are the unconventional arrangements.  Instead of settling for standard chord progressions with predictable tones and melodies, POH opts for jagged riffs, abrupt changes, and quirky surprises.  Perhaps the best way to illustrate all of these qualities is to examine one track.  More specifically, Speak Know Truth which seems to be a bit of an amalgamation.  The song opens up with some gnarly metal riffing (complete with pinch harmonics) in an odd time signature.  After 22 seconds, there is an extremely short stall (almost like an eye blink) and the outstanding shredding continues, but with entirely new accents and some nice poppin’ on the bass guitar.  At 0:40 the time straightens out with a more open strummed progression.  In the short span of 54 seconds, the band plays through three substantive musical changes that almost sound like unrelated riffs from separate and incomplete pieces of music that were forced together in a drawn out intro of a single song.  While it’s certainly odd, it will keep a listener on his toes and the riffs themselves are really damn good!  The vocals finally come in at 0:56.  It’s a bit anti-climatic as the guitars dump out in favor of long sustains while the drums lighten up and the click moves to the ride cymbal making the verses somewhat lethargic.  The lyrical content deals with the idea that truth is relative and can only come out when an individual demonstrates the courage to speak what he or she is thinking/feeling with no filter or reservations.  The concept is great, although the off-pitch and rhythmically clumsy vocal delivery leaves much to be desired coming in the wake of a fiery instrumental intro.  At 1:24, the chorus drops and it is the first time we hear a repeated progression from earlier in the song.  The band toggles between another verse and chorus before entering a subdued and melodic guitar solo.  Saturated with chorus and flange effects, suddenly, you might think you are listening to a 70’s classic rock tune.  After sinking into lovely thoughts of bell bottoms and halter tops, at 2:52, the band explodes (with no transition) into an energetic, screamed metal movement that has absolutely no sonic relation to either the verses or the chorus, but ties back to the intro to some degree.  …that is until 3:15 when POH completely shift gears, yet again, to a straight forward mid-tempo pop-punk flow to almost finish out the song.  I use the word “almost” because the band reverts back to more metal feel in the final few seconds.

While Speak no Truth puts most all of the band’s spectrum on display in a single song, this hodgepodge phenomenon is not to be expected on every track.  Sometimes POH is just going to serve you an instrumental song infused with some of their go-to elements.  Other times, they will hit you with a straight forward short punk tune like Ten Minutes which might remind you of the Circle Jerks or perhaps one of the filler tracks on an older Descendents album.  Songs like Our Favorite Lie hop more on the 90’s punk train (barring the System of a Down-esque bridge in the middle of the arrangement).  On a track titled Kenny Goes to Shows, the band gives a well deserved nod to Kenny Bojarski who is one of the greatest supporters of the local San Diego music scene and beyond.  It’s definitely one of the more accessible songs on the album.  The band leans on a consistent, gritty hard rock sound.  Included is a catchy chorus spelling Kenny’s last name, and a group-chant-finish that should have complete strangers to Kenny shouting along all the same.  Perhaps the band’s most potent moment can be found on the title track Something for Someone.  This track is an in-your-face and in-your-vein metal injection about the state of our society and it absolutely slays!  With all of the different styles and influences evident on this release, it’s almost hard to make heads or tails of it at times, but when considering the origin and meaning of the band name, one can rest assured that the instilled confusion was all intentional.

…and this is where you deboard the manic rollercoaster to huddle up with your buddies and pick each other’s brain to see how much each of you enjoyed the ride.  The conversation reveals ebbs & flows coupled with pros & cons, but you all walk away in agreement that, on the whole, it was worth it.

3.50 out of 5 SDP Skulls

Artist:  Parade of Horribles
Album:  Something for Someone
Release Date:  March 3rd, 2017

Reviewed by Todd Dulawan

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