ALTITUDES AND ATTITUDE
While Altitudes and Attitude might very well feature two legendary bassists renowned for their day-job bands that just so happen to be two of thrash’s “Big Four”, don't come here expecting a thrash fest. Anthrax’s Frank Bello and Megadeth’s David Ellefson are the men behind this new outfit, in what’s been billed as a hard rock venture. However, don’t let that fool you, either. Sure, there’s a ton of hard rock styled melodies throughout the tracks, but also a liberal dose of retro metal motifs. Does any of it sound like Anthrax or Megadeth? Not really, although aficionados of the two bands will be able to discern mild fleeting flavours of each… perhaps certain rhythms; chord changes; and other particular idioms.
This venture started life as an idea that was originally born when the two musicians were writing some instrumentations for demoing Hartke gear during a series of bass clinics, around the time of the Big Four shows in 2010. Skip forward to 2014, and an EP emerged from the pair and, another four years on, we have a full platter of music. Bello has assumed frontman duties, also performing guitar, while sticksman Jeff Friedl completes the lineup, a man whose drumming talents can also currently be heard in A Perfect Circle. And a few guests have also lent their shredding abilities to some of the tracks, including Ace Frehley, Nita Strauss, Gus G., Christian Martucci and Steel Panther’s Satchel. Bottom-line - forget faff, filler and pretension, this is a zero bullshit, balls to the wall beast, full to the brim with catchy-as-hell tunes.
From what Ellefson has stated of the album’s title, it seems to be his interpretation that it alludes to getting their music out that’s been “living inside of us for so long”. For Bello, however, it has more of a cathartic significance: “A lot of these lyrics are about the inner struggles of my life, and about the rage that has built up from my life experiences - my brother’s murder; my father abandoning my family when we were young, leaving us with no funds to pay the bills, the ups and downs of life in general.” There’s some seriously personal stuff here. And songs aren’t necessarily what they seem to be about just from the titles. ‘Booze and Cigarettes’, for example, deals with a phrase Bello uttered to his non-smoking grandmother (“Have you got your booze and cigarettes?”), in trying to get her to smile while taking her to chemo each day; attempting to take her mind away from the pain of the experience.
I guess the personal nature of the lyrics have helped propel Bello into the vocal performance he’s delivered here. What a voice! Where's he been hiding this all these years?! Okay, the man's no virtuoso vocalist, but he doesn't need to be for these songs. His voice is all about raw emotion, energy and vitality... there are zero histrionics here, just a man singing his heart out in the most engaging and natural of ways. It’s all about raw passion, where he’s able to express all kinds of sincere sounding emotions.
There’s a nice amount of diversity to ‘Get It Out’, too. Some songs seem to follow a paradigm of raw aggression during the verses, which segue into more euphonic bridges and refrains. And there are some serious emotional hooks to be heard in these choruses. Anthemic, in places. It’s an enjoyable ride, for sure. Closing track ‘Here Again’ is, perhaps, the heaviest the album gets, and has a noticeable Anthrax vibe during certain passages. Other songs, such as ‘Talk to Me’, ‘Tell the World’ and ‘Another Day’ are more euphonic all the way through, with the aggression taking a back seat. There are also a few surprises in store, like the mid-album instrumental piece, ‘Leviathan’, an epic sounding composition, complete with a beautiful bass/acoustic guitar intro and a whole ton of engaging harmonies throughout. ‘All There Is’ is a mellower, melancholic, introspective piece, with some beautiful, minimalist piano used to accentuate the inherent emotions within the song.
‘Get It Out’ ultimately succeeds in simultaneously being a refined exercise in perfectly conceived and realised songcraft, and an outing in raw, rediscovered innocence, harking back to bygone days of rock/metal of yore. It invokes a weird kind of nostalgia in me but it also feels very much of the here and now. This is top notch stuff. And it’s a groovy fucker, too.
GET IT OUT
Review by Mark Holmes
18th January 2019
1) Get It Out; 2) Late
3) Out Here; 4) Part of Me
6) Talk to Me
9) Another Day
10) All There Is
11) Booze and Cigarettes
12) Tell the World
13) Here Again
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...forget faff, filler and pretension, this is a zero bullshit, balls to the wall beast, full to the brim with catchy-as-hell tunes."