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Rahway - Slumlords of New Jersey Award winner

Slumlords of New Jersey
by Mark Machlay at 04 November 2020, 5:56 AM

Good time New Jersey hard rockers, RAHWAY – named after the town they call home - fully capture the instinct of the DIY musicians of our time. With a strong East Coast following, Jersey roots and a healthy independent work ethic, the band has shared stages with the likes of BUCKCHERRY, SLASH, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, and THREE DAYS GRACE. Not content to stick to a classic rock or a more modern radio-friendly hard rock, their influences are quite varied with legends like LED ZEPPELIN, GUNS ‘N’ ROSES, and MOTELY CRUE as well as GODSMACK, SEETHER, and THEORY OF A DEADMAN. The band has been well-established for over a decade with their first full album dropping in 2008 titled “Snitches Get Stitches”. These are just four friends from New Jersey getting together and trying to make a go of the music industry, featuring David Cardenas on guitar, his brother and drummer Steve Cardenas, alongside vocalist Nick Hade and bassist known only as Chigger. They worked hard in the local tri-state live scene but it would be 10 years before another release would surface with 4 track EP in 2016 titled “Grand Design” which became the last four tracks of their 2017 full-length album, “Undefeated”.

They are back strong in 2020 with “Slumlords of New Jersey”, a 5-track EP released on October 7th. This short romp through the band’s style has plenty of energy, lots of rocking and a guaranteed good time to be had. “Acetylene” opens the EP hard and fast with unbridled and raw punk flavor with a hooky chorus and vocal harmonies to get your fist pumping and raise energy levels up quickly. Then there is “Stone” starting out slow and groovy with some nice drum work from Cardenas before double timing it into the meat of the song featuring a SLASH – like guitar solo and outro giving a heavy retro feeling. “Only the Strong” continues the groove with a hipper faster vocal delivery from Hade with some vocal doubling reminiscent of ALICE IN CHAINS and even Layne Staley-like acapella drawling as an outro. “Sugar” acts as the package’s ballad with a layered, ethereal guitar opening and repeated chorus “do, do, do” line that is both angelic and ear candy singable. You can really hear a punk influence here with the building chug transitioning riffs. Then there is the PAUL MCCARTNEY cover of “Jet” that strips the song down to its bones and builds it up to be a booze-soaked punch of a classic hit.

These guys are pure rock ‘n’ roll with little frill in the vein of GUNS ‘N’ ROSES, TWISTED SISTER, and SLASH but they still manage to swim in the sea of modern rock and metal which keeps their sound fresh and relevant. That combination of energy mixed with brashness and apologetic onslaught of early punk elevates their compositions to stand on their own, even though, clearly, they would be more effective in a live setting. With the passionate vocals of Nick Hade and the pounding, driving nature of the tunes it makes for a rousing good time and gets your adrenaline rushing.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Acetylene
2. Jet
3. Only The Strong
4. Stone
5. Sugar
Nick Hade – Lead Vocals
David Cardenas – Guitar
Steve Cardenas – Drums
Chigger – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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