Call Me No One – “Last Parade”

“Sevendust’s Clint Lowery branches out with a new project that is both strikingly different and refreshingly unique.”

by Tango Sho’Nuff

Clint Lowery is a rare breed of artist.  Jaded yet optimistic, cynical yet humble, in short…not your typical rock star.  This is probably Lowery’s most enduring quality…he’s NOT a rock star.  He’s a musician who treats his craft as art, not product.  Between his work with Sevendust and Dark New Day, (along with his acoustic offerings under the moniker “Hello Demons, Meet Skeletons”) Lowery has forged a signature sound that is unmistakably his own.  Which brings us to Call Me No One, the latest chapter of his musical legacy.  While all the key elements of Lowery’s style are here and accounted for, “Last Parade” is unlike anything we’ve heard from him before.  For those of you looking to hear Sevendust mkII, you will come away disappointed.  But if you dig deeper, and listen with an open mind, you will be treated to an album that (in this writer’s humble opinion) is one of the most refreshingly original slabs of hard rock released in the past 10 years.

“Last Parade” begins with a whisper on the aptly titled “Intro”.  A lone acoustic guitar arpeggiates sparse chords that are both beautiful and dissonant as Lowery softly repeats “The whole world is dead…the world is dead”,  which quickly segues into the lyric’s namesake track “The World is Dead”.  Uptempo and heavy, yet not overly metallic, the track serves as a good starting point and does a good job at introducing the listener to the CMNO sound.  The arrangement breathes and lets Lowery’s voice shine as the vocals morph from his usual timbre into a more aggressive tone when called for.  The track also features a lyrical yet quirky guitar solo (one of many throughout the disc) that should delight fans that have been clamouring for more of Clint’s lead work.

Next up is “Thunderbird”, a track that wouldn’t sound too out-of-place on a Foo Fighters record albeit slightly heavier.  With hooky melodies, effects-laden guitars, and a bombastic chorus…it’s easy to see why it was chosen as the album’s second single.  While it’s definitely a radio worthy track, Lowery’s outside-the-box melodies coupled with an odd chord progression give it a fresh sound that is sure to stand out amongst rock radio’s standard drivel.  Skipping ahead a bit, we’re treated to the country/punk/metal hybrid of “Hillbilly”.  After the banjo intro (yep…banjo) lures you into a false sense of security, the song’s fast paced, octave-treated riff hits you in the chest, followed by a punkish beat and a fun, tongue-in-cheek lyric.  Also of note is the very cool bluegrass-thrash lead break (I do believe that’s the first time I’ve ever used that term).

The pace slows and the mood darkens on “All’s Well”, a very somber yet dynamic song that features one of the album’s standout vocal performances alongside what very well may be Lowery’s finest guitar solo to date.  The track’s instrumentation more than serves it’s purpose, helping convey the emotion of the lyric with harmonized clean electrics and sparse piano in the verses balanced with big, distorted chords in the chorus.  Thing’s pick back up with “Biggest Fan” (the album’s first single).  One of the more uptempo tracks found on the disc, it’s filled with hellish drums, killer grooves and a downright shredding lead.  I do want to take this opportunity to point out the outstanding drum performance given by Mr. Morgan Rose.  Widely considered to be one of the finest drummers in the metal genre (or any genre for that matter), his immaculate sense of timing and dynamics along with his acrobatic fills are as impressive as ever, and while his vocals are a bit more downplayed than on Sevendust’s material, when called upon they add just the right amount of vibe needed.

“Pleased to Meet You” is unlike any other track on “Last Parade” and is guaranteed to stick in your head for days.  With an irresistable groove, call and response vocals, and some extremely cool riffs, it’s a standout for sure.  One of the things that makes “Last Parade” such a fun and entertaining listen is that the tracks seem to ebb and flow with each other with a nice balance of tempos and styles.  Even the songs that are stylistically similar are far enough apart from each other in the sequence to keep the listener interested throughout the entire disc.  There’s also a nice array of guitar tones and textures found throughout and Lowery’s use of effects help make even the simplest lines and parts stand out (giving the album a listen with headphones will reveal all sorts of ear candy one might miss if listening on a huge system or in a car).  This is very much apparent on the next track “Broken Record”.  Beautiful chords drenched in pulsing modulation are flanked in the mix by light acoustic strums and keys, giving an almost hypnotic, trance-like feel.

“You Surprise Me” might just be my personal favorite and features one of the strongest choruses I’ve heard in quite sometime.  The melodies are exceptionally strong and Clint’s vocals are beyond impressive, even more so when you take into consideration that this is the first “full band” project that he’s been the “lead singer”.  While his vocals were, and still are a huge part of Sevendust’s sound, he has really come into his own as a vocalist here.  His ability to transition from a pristine croon into an aggressive rasp, coupled with his unique sense of melody and dynamics make him one of the most expressive and versatile singers on the scene.  The album closes with the epic title track “Last Parade”.  It’s a fitting closer in that it encompasses everything the record represents and more.  Lowery digs deep in this one as you can literally ‘feel’ the emotion in his voice as he belts out the final refrain.

“Last Parade” is a bold statement that Call Me No One is here to stay.   While Sevendust remains Lowery and Rose’s main squeeze (and rightfully so), they have successfully created a band that can stand on its own with a sound that doesn’t resemble anything or anyone else in rock today.   I can’t stress enough how refreshing it is to hear an album that seems utterly genuine in its message and on top of that, be as musically unique and diverse as this.  Lowery has more than proved his worth as a singer, songwriter, and guitarist on “Last Parade”,  but honestly, anyone who’s followed him on his musical journey so far knows that he has nothing to prove.  It’s well documented that at various points in his career, he’s had some personal issues and has experienced his fair share of tragedys…but through it all, he has survived and came through the other side a stronger man and artist.  While I’m sure he wouldn’t mind being recognized for his talent on a mainstream level, I think it’s safe to say that whether or not that ever happens, Clint Lowery is going to make music.  It’s in his blood, and like most of the all time greats, he does it for the right reasons.

With Sevendust currently putting the finishing touches on their upcoming 9th studio album, it may be a while before we see a follow-up, but rest assured, Lowery has stated numerous times in the press that CMNO is no mere side project, and will return with more material when their schedule permits.  In the meantime, you can keep up with updates, as well as tour dates through their twitter and facebook pages.  If you’re looking for something a bit different in the hard rock world….”Last Parade” is an essential listen.

https://www.facebook.com/callmenoone

9/10 stars

TRACK LISTING:

1 – Intro

2 – The World is Dead

3 – Thunderbird

4 – Soapbox

5 – Hillbilly

6 – All’s Well

7 – Biggest Fan

8 – Pleased to Meet You

9 – Broken Record

10- You Surprise Me

11- War Song

12- Last Parade

Advertisements