Charm City Devils - 'Battles'
John Allen - lead vocals
Victor Karrera - guitar, backing vocals
Nick Kay - guitar, backing vocals
Anthony Arambula - bass guitar, backing vocals
Jason Heiser - drums
1.) "Tear It Apart" - The intro to this track consisted of a very simple electric rhythm guitar riff over the top of a tom-tom pattern. After the second measure, a bass line kicks-in. It also sounded like at this time a second rhythm guitar rhythm began however, it was very difficult to tell because of the backing vocal harmonies that were over the top of the intro arrangement. A huge lead vocal scream fades connecting the musical intro with the musical verse. The verse mainly consisted of lead vocals and drums. The rhythm guitar parts consisted of a very simple riff that had several musical rests in between them. There was a lead guitar lick underneath the fifth lyric line of the opening musical verse. Underneath the last lyric line connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus there were a couple lead guitar licks. These lead guitar licks run underneath the opening lyric line of the chorus. For the vocal chorus there was a short echo attached to the lyric apart. Underneath the lead vocal lines of the chorus there the guys sang the same backing vocal harmony as the one o the intro. The band used the same arrangement for the second verse as the one they used for the first verse except underneath the fifth lyric line instead of a lead guitar lick the band added a rhythm guitar riff. There was a twin lead guitar solo connecting the second chorus with the third chorus. The first guitarist played his solo with a wah-wah effect. Then the second guitarist played his using a standard distortion pedal. Using these two different effects made for a nice sounding twin lead guitar solo.
2.) "Crucify " -This track opens with a single seventies Aerosmith influenced rhythm guitar riff that comes just out of the left speaker. The riff is repeated twice. On the third riff, the riff begins coming out of the right speaker. Over the top of the second riff, slowly leading in over the top of this riff there was a lead vocal accent. After the second riff the band kicks-in the song. Over the top of the rhythm arrangement there is a harmonica arrangement. Though Victor and Nick used the same rhythm guitar arrangement they added a heavy distortion effect giving it a different sound. This was the main body of the intro. There was an arrangement change for the musical verse. The way the rhythm guitars were arranged lets the drum and bass line become the main instrumentation of the arrangement. The band kept the choruses very simple. There were a few of the lyric lines of the verse that consisted of a vocal echo. The lead guitar solo was very short and over powered by the rhythm arrangement. The coda consisted of a single rhythm guitar riff.
3.) "Shots " - This track was the first single taken off the release. You can view the video above. This track opened with a very intense rhythm arrangement over the top of the arrangement there was a very intense lead vocal accent. The main instrumentation underneath the lyric lines of the verse consisted of bass and drums. The rhythm guitar kicks-in after the fourth lyric line. The choruses had a Theory Of A Deadman hook to it. The backing vocals were placed in between the lead vocal lines. After the second chorus there was a twin lead guitar solo. Once you hear this song you will see why they chose it to be the single.
4.) "Everyday" - This intro consisted of a lead vocal accent over the top of an acoustic guitar arrangement. The pre-verse consisted of a drum line underneath John's vocal lines. John's vocals were done with a effects added to them. Every other lyric line of the pre-verse had a small echo attached to it. After the pre-verse the rhythm guitar kicked-in. For the chorus the bass line and second rhythm guitar kick-in. For the second verse there were two different rhythm guitar arrangements. After the second chorus there was a rhythm arrangement change that consisted of acoustic guitar and vocals. After this section there was a chorus repeat all the way up through the coda.
5.) "Want" -This track opens with a rhythm guitar arrangement over the top of a tom-tom pattern. Over the top of the tom-tom there is a vibraslap. This vibraslap continues through the intro and musical verse. There are several vocal accent over the top of all of this. The band used the same musical rhythm for the musical pre-verse as the one for the intro. John's vocal lines of the pre-verse sounded just like a younger Mick Jagger. For the musical verse a second rhythm guitar kicks-in. The chorus had a huge Rolling Stones hook. After the second chorus there was a small breakdown section.
6.) "God’s Gonna Cut You Down" -This track opens with a bass drum pattern underneath a rhythm guitar arrangement. Over the top of this John is singing through a blow horn. After a couple of lyrics John drops the blow horn and regularly sings. His vocal lines are very reminiscent in the style of several blues songs. When the song kicks-in it kicks-in with a very intense feel. The way they wrote this song made it a fun song to hear live! There was a lead guitar solo connecting the second and third chorus. There were several lead guitar licks underneath the third chorus. The actual lead guitar solo ran over the top of the coda.
7.) "Lying To Yourself " - This track opens with a very intense intro arrangement. For the musical verse the band drastically slow the music down. The musical verse consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements. There was a rhythm change for the musical chorus. The musical chorus had a modern rock feel to it. After the first chorus there was a lead guitar solo. The third verse consisted of a drastic musical change.
8.) "Rich N Famous" - This track was heavily influenced by Black Stone Cherry.
9.) "Destiny" - This track opened with a rhythm guitar arrangement and a keyboard underneath a vocal line. As the song progressed the bass and drum line were added. There was a small drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. There was a small rhythm change for the musical chorus. The musical verse consisted of two separate rhythm guitar arrangement. This was a classic modern rock song.
10.) "Karma" This was a classic modern rock song"
11.) "Let It Go" - Next to the single this was the best song on the release.
12.) "Shots" (radio version) - Refer to track three.
Formed out of Baltimore Maryland in 2007, vocalist John Allen, guitarists Nick Kay and Victor Karrera, bassist Anthony Arambula and drummer Jason Heiser are collectively known as Charm City Devils. Charm City Devils were one of the first bands signed to Nikki Sixx's former record label, Eleven Seven Records. Being signed to Sixx's record label allowed the band to be one of the supporting acts on Crüefest 2 tour jump-starting their career.
'Battles' is the third CD released from Charm City Devils and their first with The End Records. The Charm City Devils signature sound cleverly mixes classic hard rock and roll with a few well-placed hooks to create a rawness, an edginess in their music that is both energizing and satisfying. There is nothing calm, tame or halfway about Charm City Devils, and 'Battles' is no exception. In fact, 'Battles' seems to feature even more aggressive rhythm work from 'Arambula' and 'Heiser' this time around, with the drum work and bass line distinct and clear in the mix. Not many modern rock bands are deserving of a record contact these days. Charm City Devils however, are very deserving! When listening to the songs you can hear why Nikki signed the band to their first contact. Though the band has a modern rock sound you can also hear huge influences from late eighties hard rock and metal. There is no doubt if bands were being promotes as they use to be that Charm City Devils would be a household name. This is a must have for all modern rock fans.