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Four Stroke Baron - Classics Award winner

Four Stroke Baron
by Andrew Harvey at 27 December 2021, 9:40 AM

FOUR STROKE BARON is a trio from the city and state of Reno, Nevada (USA)and they have been together for a number of years since their formation in the late 2000's, possibly  2010 or 2011. Their sound has been somewhat tricky to explain or place in the genre of heavy rock or metal. Furthermore they have chosen to mix ‘eccentric prog rock’ with a ‘groovy and danceable nature of nu-metal and 80’s new wave and synth pop’. Their musical journey began in 2014 with their debut album EP titled FOUR STROKE BARON before they came to release their debut album in 2015, titled KING RADIO.

Their second album, titled PLANET SILVER SCREEN was released in 2018 and another EP followed in 2020, named MONOQUEEN. Now they give us their third studio album titled CLASSICS, perhaps maybe an interesting choice of title for their album. But nevertheless it is admirable to know that this band has been going strong as ever since. It is certainly a very broad compilation of songs starting with the introductory track, titled “Radium” which has both that synth pop and prog rock/metal influence.

What we hear is a touch of synth pop like a band similar to DEPECHE MODE and prog metal like DREAM THEATER. The vocals symbolize the synth pop and electric guitar, bass & drums provide the heavy influences. The second track is “Rolling Gloom 1999” which keeps the prog rock/metal sound alive but does have hints of synth pop again. We can also hear what sounds like the essences of gothic rock or pop, especially the synth pop that stands out on occasion. But the warmth and fusion of lower end frequencies also delivered well.

I wasn’t too keen on the secondary vocal line, maybe too processed but lead vocals were cunning, authoritative and rhythmic as well. Piano accompaniment brings in the next track titled “Khera” which comes with the boost of drums and injection of synthetic gestures of vocals or extra sound effects. More sustained than progressive but the prog rock element is present in the mix. Piano appears at the end for what is coming, “Prostitute Part II: Pretty Woman (Makes Money)” is full of similar thoughts and suggestions.

The nu metal and prog rock combination is certainly prominent with keys playing a bridge like tone to pave the way for processed vocals. New wave and double kick rhythms come at the end leaving a good impression on the listener. “13 Steps To Stockton” aims high with rapid-firing drumming and a more electronic dance tempo with accented notation. Some shouting and screaming at the closure of this track. “G.O!” begins to speed up when prog rock takes over with vocals & drums running into each other.

Electric guitar and bass tend to blend well together; this carries on into the next track. “Friday Knight” has a more percussive and gothic rock feel but the vocals keep the synth pop element alive. The heavy guitar and drum track are but inevitable, an extra layer of vocals sounds very synthetic. “Coast Of Barbary” comes with precision of prog rock drumming, synth pop themed vocals and work in conjunction playing their part in the narrative of this track.

Closing with electro-acoustic or new wave soundscape. Guitar dominates the next track “Sundowner” and varies in tone as well which makes this track more interesting but dramatic too. Drums sit nicely, perhaps could be pulled back to allow the guitar to come through and project well. Even the stuttered sound effects gives it that nu metal flavour and drums alter course to reinforce that concept. Lastly we come to the end with the final track “Russian Thought Experiment” which also features a guest appearance by NXOV.

This track is full of intriguing sounds processed, piano motif also with movements or rhythmic gestures. The piano provides the tone and key for vocals to come in and gives a settled atmosphere. Drums slowly join in yet piano plays and vocals silenced briefly. Vocals go on a loose passage, shouting but not excessively. This album is extraordinary and has a lot of positives to take away and I enjoyed it hugely especially when the contrast of soundscape or musical parts was well executed.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Radium
2. Rolling Gloom 1999
3. Khera
4. Prostitute Part II: Pretty Woman (Makes Money)
5. 13 Steps To Stockton
6. G.O!
7. Friday Knight
8. Coast Of Barbary
9. Sundowner
10. Russian Thought Experiment
Kirk Witt - Vocals, Guitar
Keegan Ferrari - Bass Guitar
Matt Valllarino - Drums
Record Label: Prosthetic Records


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Edited 02 December 2022

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