Less than Man, More than Rabbit

I was a bit unimpressed by the commercial meets metal output of their sister band An Entire Legion, but Tricore fares much better while treading similar ground. Less than Man, More than Rabbit leans a little more toward a heavier sound, mixing radio-ready commercial hard rock with bits of thrash and just a few blasts of progressive.

Not surprisingly, my favorite moments on the record are when they veer off into thrash territory. Granted, they don’t ever stay there long, but it’s a treat when they do. Particularly interesting is the opening of “Speeder,” one of the heavier numbers, which reminds me a bit of Machine Head. It’s a solid tune throughout with a cool slower riff toward the end. Also entertaining is the thrashy opening of “Don’t Make Me,” which is followed by a more bouncy commercial riff, then a nice angular riff. The verse is very commercial, with vocals that remind me a bit of Gavin Rossdale, but the chorus gets a little heavier.

Like An Entire Legion, Tricore also flirts regularly with old-fashioned traditional metal. “For the Missed,” which featuers some nice guitar harmonies that return mid-song. Unfortunately, the rest of the song is nothing to write home about. “Fyrom,” on the other hand, features one of the most memorable riffs on the record. A funky hard rock verse leads into a much more aggressive bit of mechanical thrash riffing. The song is very catchy, despite some almost rapped vocals, and is probably my favorite track on the record. “Slap” opens with another solid trad metal moment, moving into a heavier groove riff. The chorus is a bit weak, though.

The commercial rock vibe breaks through on songs like the System of a Down-influenced :”Kings” and the Godsmack-flavored “Sign Off.” Then there’s the trippy arthouse opening of “Smallbird,” which is the only interesting thing about perhaps the record’s most commercial offering.

Less than Man, More than Rabbit does have some solid offerings for fans of the heavier end. “Xenon” opens with some solid riffing, then the chorus blasts through like a steroided version of some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ older material mixed with Metallica. “Xhibish” offers perhaps the heaviest moment on the record with some riffing that approaches death territory on early on and then settling into a Pantera-inspired groove. The bouncy verse kind of ruins the mood for a minute, but the song picks back up.

But that’s the problem with trying to bounce around from style to style. Inevitably, there are going to be some weak moments for every listener. A perfect example is the song “Tight Shadow,” which treads the heavier end of the spectrum in the early going. There’s some nice proggy angular riffing, and good variety in the vocals with the more commercial approach punctuated by some more aggressive thrash growls. Then we get to the slow, jangly breakdown that reminds the listener, quite unfortunately, of Creed. I leave the song thinking it would have been really good if they’d stuck with the heavier stuff. Likewise, a fan of the commercial will probably leave thinking that part was nice, but they could do without the heavier stuff.

Give them credit, though, for trying to do something more interesting, and more often than not, succeeding. Musically, it’s solid. Vocalist Chris Kerley ( who also handles the drums) shows some depth and variety. The guitar work of Rich Wood and Mark Carstairs is nice, and the record is just fairly solid all the way around. It’s definitely worth checking out for those who don’t mind a few commercial leanings.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
January 6th, 2010


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