"Never Say Never"
Release date: October 25th 2019
Genre: Modern heavy rock, modern heavy metal, melodic heavy metal
From Chicago, Illinois comes a five piece band that has been active since it formed back in 1993. DITCHWATER has released six albums between 1996 and 2018, all of them having received a re-mastering treatment and re-released at various points in time during 2018 and 2019.
Lead guitarist Mark Anderson is the only member of the band who has appeared on all releases, and despite numerous line up changes he has made sure that DITCHWATER has kept consistent in their making of heavy, powerful, catchy and above all honest music.
In late October this year the band released their seventh studio effort. "Never Say Never" (a title suggested by vocalist Mike Meadows that seemed fitting as a motto for a band that has had its share of ups and downs) is a natural continuation on DITCHWATER's list of merits, both in terms of songwriting and production.
In essence a band with a somewhat aggressive approach, but always with its heart on the outside. The aggressive aspect is greatly enhanced by the thick and massive production, but the thing that DITCHWATER does to differ from a lot of other similar bands is that their aggression is positive and honest.
"Enemy of the People" is the opening track that immediately grabs the listener by the collar. Bouldering riffs, catchy hooks and a chorus that proves there is a fine, melodic side to the band as well. "My Last Breath" and "Against" My Better Emotional Reasons" are more downtempo than the opener, but provides the same energy.
That being said, DITCHWATER keeps the energy consistent throughout the whole album, with the exception of the heartfelt and open "All About You", which is the first track to feature clean guitars. "Hands Held Out" presents even an acoustic side of the band that I feel works very well, and concludes DITCHWATER's presentation of new, original material in a tasteful, yet rather unexpected manner.
"Never Say Never" ends the same way that it started 35 minutes earlier, with a furious blast. DITCHWATER's version of Motörhead's "Iron Fist" doesn't stray far from the original, but the best way a band can honor classics like this is to give it their own touch without losing the respect that the original deserves.
As mentioned earlier, "Never Say Never" is the latest release from a band that has kept going through 26 years of existence, and it showcases a great deal of emotions built up from the highs and lows throughtout their career. Power and aggression remain as relevant keywords to describe DITCHWATER's music in 2019, but good melodies, skillful songwriting and the band's positive energy makes "Never Say Never" a genuine and enjoyable experience.
1. Enemy of the People
2. My Last Breath
3. Against My Better Emotional Reasons
4. The End
5. This Pain
6. The Way You Are
7. All About You
8. How Many Times
9. Hands Held Out
10. Iron Fist
Mike Meadows - vocals
Mark Anderson - lead guitar
Kevin James - rhythm guitar
Mason Brown - bass
Mike Tignino - drums