June 6, 2012
Album Review: "Last Parade" by Call Me No One
Since re-joining Sevendust in 2008, Clint Lowery has maintained one of the busiest schedules of anyone in the entire hard rock world. Besides writing and recording Sevendust's latest album, 2010's Cold Day Memory, and all of the band's touring on top of that, Lowery somehow also found time to write and record three EP's for his solo project, Hello Demons...Meet Skeletons, between 2008 and 2011. Apparently that was not enough for Lowery, though. In January of 2012, he and Sevendust drummer/vocalist Morgan Rose formed a new side project entitled Call Me No One, and they immediately began writing and recording songs for what would become the group's debut, Last Parade.
Lowery and Rose made some unexpected choices for the recording of Last Parade, two of which stand out prominently from the rest. First, instead of returning to a studio where previous Sevendust albums had been recorded, or contracting with a well-known studio for the recording process, Lowery and Rose chose Architekt Music in Butler, NJ, a hybrid music school/live venue/recording studio that has only been open for a year and a half. Lowery recorded his second Hello Demons...Meet Skeletons EP, Words That Sing Well, at Architekt in 2011, so he at least had some prior experience with the personnel there. An even more interesting choice, though, was that Lowery and Rose chose Kurt Wubbenhorst, one of the co-owners of Architekt, to play bass on Last Parade, and even included him in the writing process. Having a relative unknown be such an integral part of the project is initially stunning, but a little research on Wubbenhorst proves why he is a worthy choice. A multi-instrumentalist skilled in guitar, bass, drums, piano, and vocals, Wubbenhorst made a name for himself in the Jersey rock scene playing in a pair of high-profile local groups, Roots of Rebellion and West Gate, from 2004 to 2011. Throughout the course of Last Parade, his bass chops speak for themselves.
The music itself on Last Parade will sound familiar to longtime Sevendust fans, who are used to the style generated by the tandem of Lowery and Rose that is responsible for many of Sevendust's biggest hits. The heaviness that is exhibited immediately on "The World is Dead" is a dead ringer for the duo's signature sound, and it permeates the vast majority of the album to create a comfortable familiarity that is still interesting to listen to. However, there is a very unique progressive edge to this album that sets it apart from almost everything in Sevendust's discography. From the banjo intro and country elements on "Hillbilly" to the polyrhythms and dark ambience on "Broken Record", Last Parade demands that listeners embrace the unexpected, because that is where the true beauty of this album comes to light. Lowery's vocals alternate from soulful and emotional to searing and urgent, dictating the pace of the album and commanding attention in the same way that his Sevendust counterpart Lajon Witherspoon does so well. Complementing the music perfectly, Lowery's singing style is the perfect fit for Call Me No One, filling out the sound in a way that virtually no other singer could.
Last Parade is more than just the debut album from a side project for two immensely talented musicians. It is a statement of intent and purpose, a declaration for all to hear - radio rock music can and should be better than what it has become, and this is one example of how that can be accomplished. This album has an innate talent for grabbing your attention and grappling it back to the music just before anything has time to become stale, and through a style that only veterans like Lowery and Rose can pull off, the album still manages to balance heaviness, accessibility, and strong musicianship, without ever compromising on any of them in the slightest. For a group that is dubbed a side project, Call Me No One has a very bright future and a strong chance to achieve widespread recognition very quickly.
Score: 8 out of 10
2. The World is Dead
6. All's Well
7. Biggest Fan
8. Pleased to Meet You
9. Broken Record
10. You Surprise Me
11. War Song
12. Last Parade
Clint Lowery - Lead vocals, guitar
Morgan Rose - Drums, backing vocals
Kurt Wubbenhorst - Bass guitar, programming