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Superchucker – Widespread Panic!

Superchucker
Widespread Panic!
by Joseph Brewer at 29 July 2020, 11:00 PM

Blazing fire out of Toronto, Canada is throw-back heavy metal band SUPERCHUCKER. Established in 2017, this five-piece band is comprised of some of Toronto’s most celebrated musicians. While some of the members were in original bands, others spent more time on the cover circuit paying homage to the classics that define the genre. This combined experience has led to a vintage sound, raw and heavy with riffs that emulate the greats like THIN LIZZY, SCORPIONS, and DIO. After releasing their EP “Liar!” in 2019, SUPERCHUCKER built off of that success and is self-releasing their debut album, “Widespread Panic!” in 2020.

Title track “Widespread Panic!” kicks off the album. After a short heartbeat intro, the whole band slams into gear and you are thrown back a few decades to some of the classic metal acts of the 70s and 80s. Shawn Pegg and Stavros Theodorakopoulos lead the way with the powerful twin-axe attack. Backed by mastermind Steve Machpherson driving the beat on bass and Rob Hassey going wild on the drums, this blistering track is an up tempo shred fest that never relents. The final piece to this heavy metal puzzle is vocalist Dave Barrett, whose rough falsetto brings the grit and grunge to their sound. A mixture somewhere in between Ronnie James Dio and Dee Snider, Barrett belts out the chorus through clenched teeth with swagger and power.

Next up is “Cartoon Nation,” which slows down the pace by a touch, particularly in the bridge, which leans into a breakdown, headbanging pace. This counterplay continues throughout, battling between heavy, moving verses and a more subdued chorus. Barrett is definitely stretching his range on this track, with a few of the highs sounding a bit strained. “Liar,” the main single from the 2019 EP, is chock full of in-your-face raw attitude. This meaty track chews through bars with a simple musical foundation with the highlight being the chorus, where the band comes together to repeatedly scream out, “Liar!”

Most of the tracks on the album follow the standard song structure, which is totally acceptable for an homage-style album like “Widespread Panic!” The next few tracks, “Bullets,” “Forgotten,” and “Validate,” are all good mid-tempo rock jams, the standout of the bunch being “Validate,” which for me has a much more memorable chorus than the others. It falls into that earworm category where I can’t really explain why it’s catchy, but it’s damn catchy.

We Like To Rock” is the only song on the album where I sort of roll my eyes at the content. On one hand, it’s a solid party rock song that must be an absolute treat to perform live. On the other hand, the trope of “people think rock is dead, but we disagree!” is a bit played out. That being said, the song achieves what it sets out to do: rock hard. “Another Day” is a solid ballad, finding that balance between slow melody and cranked up rock. “The Wait” is a short track, stuffing in the quick chunking riffs and dueling solos. Last up is “Cloak Of Darkness,” which is a great sendoff to the album. A mostly instrumental intro with a few time change curveballs lead into the rest of the song. The chorus is pretty catchy, a good ending to cap off this debut album by SUPERCHUCKER.

Overall, heavy metal fans seeking some reimagined sounds from an iconic era in rock music will surely enjoy “Widespread Panic!” by SUPERCHUCKER. From a complexity standpoint, the songwriting was crisp and straightforward, leaning more towards nostalgia and reverence than pure originality. That being said, the riffs were heavy, the solos were tight, the vocals had attitude, and each track brought a different, killer moment to the forefront.

Favorite Songs: “Widespread Panic”, “Validate

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Widespread Panic
2. Cartoon Nation
3. Liar
4. Bullets
5. Forgotten
6. Validate
7. We Like To Rock
8. Another Day
9. The Wait
10. Cloak Of Darkness
Lineup:
Steve Macpherson – Bass
Dave Barrett – Vocals
Shawn Pegg – Guitar
Rob Hassey – Drums
Stavros Theodorakopoulos – Guitar
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 13 August 2020
 

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