Sunday, October 14, 2012


The latest album from Driver is entitled Countdown which is an apt title for as soon as you put it in be prepared for blastoff! The songwriting duo of Rob Rock and Roy Z has again offered a feast of melodic metal. Superb melodies with dynamic riffs and fantastic musicianship.

Rob’s vocal performance once again shows why he is one of the best in genre. Easily Rock should be in the same breath as Halford, Dio, and Dickenson. His control, range and power never fail to disappoint and just continue to amaze. It’s also of note that his lyric writing has continued to develop with maturity and depth. When it comes to singing about his faith he continues to explore all avenues of it without being preachy or trite.

Roy Z continues to show why the aforementioned Rob Halford and Bruce Dickenson have trusted him with producing their albums. Roy is a solid producer but is able to craft fantastic arrangements in which to put those dynamic metal riffs. Having seen him tour with Rob Halford's solo band along side Metal Mike is no mere feat, but Roy more than held is own and he shines on Countdown with some fabulous guitar venom of his own.

The songs you ask? Everything from strong rockers such as Return to the Sky, Thief in the Night, Feel the Fire, to more slightly subdued tracks such as Cry of the Wounded or Always on My Mind. Cry also features contributions of keyboardist Ed Roth on the songwriting side. Always benefits from the contributions of Dave Fefolt and Jorge Fischer to Roy and Rob’s. Let it not be omitted that there are a few barnburners as well with Hollywood Shooting Star and the title track fitting that bill quite nicely.

The production is well crafted with solid arranging and excellent tones for all the instruments. It is a nice change to hear an acoustic sounding snare drum. The sound pallet is well crafted.

The material here isn’t as heavy as most of Rob’s solo material, but slightly more accessible. I’m sure someone will point to Hollywood Shooting Star and say, ‘accessible??’ but this accessibility comes from how Countdown is mixed. A bit more polish then the first Driver album, but that only adds to the quality of the over all quality of the production.

Countdown is a strong collection of driving (excuse the pun) melodic metal. Songs that are full of energy and demand repeated listens. The hooks will sink in deep and be stuck in your head long after the disc is finished. Driver’s Countdown is an album that will be a long time player in your rotation as its tenacity is the secret of its success.

8 axes

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