EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE
Released on October 6, 2017 (HighVolMusic)
In the past couple months, I have written a few pieces on Memphis, Tennessee band Every Mother’s Nightmare. Initially, the first was a retro album review of 1993’s Wake Up The Screaming’. The second was an interview with singer Rick Ruhl. Upon receiving news of the impending interview, I ordered the band’s latest album Grind through a second party on Amazon. Well, the dilemma I faced with ordering through a second party is that the mailing time is much longer than what is with Amazon itself. I had hoped Grind would have arrived at the time of the interview, but that was not to be. Of course, there are other avenues that can be used to listen to an album. One being and I hate to say it, the ever so popular Spotify. Of course, we all know that Spotify pays the artists very minimal amounts of money for their work. Oh, how I dislike the new age of music. With that said, I had no choice but to wait for my Amazon order so I used the Spotify forum to get updated on what Every Mother’s Nightmare were up to these days. I will make note that the interview was a few weeks back. I finally received the CD this past Monday. Staying true to having the actual product in my hands, I waited to receive the product before writing my review. I am so old school it hurts, but I believe in today’s age of not appreciating the simple things in life, like having the physical copy of an artist’s work, this was the logical way of doing things. I do indeed have some integrity. Just ask me!!!
For those who have not yet read the interview I did with Rick Ruhl, I have decided to try something a little different, pushing the envelope slightly. I am going to review this album with quotes taken from Ruhl’s interview. Of course, I will voice my opinion on the songs, but having an understanding of what the artist was trying to convey makes for a better reviewing experience I think.
Grind is an interesting piece of music. It includes eight new songs, well sort of — some were taken from the band’s 2015 EP of the same name — three live tracks, plus a second disc of live footage. A pretty cool package of material. Grind possesses the classic EMN sound, but with a new twist. Produced by Justin Rimer, Ruhl was very complimentary when talking of Rimer as he stated: “It started out as an experiment. I went to see Justin Rimer at his studio. I kept hearing his stuff. I liked what he was doing. I was curious to see if he’d work with an ’80s band.”
“Loco Crazy” starts off the album with a bang. This infectious rocker really gets things moving. The song starts off with a cool little chant with the drummer pounding the floor tom. The interval guitar line follows the chant. The band then comes in at full speed with Ruhl proclaiming the obvious — “We’re all Loco Crazy.” What the heck is a “Loco Crazy” you may be asking yourself? Ruhl had this to say about this clever little title: “Well you know everybody has a Loco Crazy song. It’s about being proud of where you are from. It’s that pride. It’s saying “if ya cross us, we’ll cut ya!”
“Snake” begins with a very modern segway into this groovy, heavy composition. What I found great about this song was trying to figure out the lyrics. It’s as if he is angry at someone. It really shows in his vocal approach. I love how the guitar line follows the vocal line. Ruhl has always had a unique style of vocal execution. I wanted to get a take on Ruhl’s mindset. I needed to know if was directed at just one person? “I think it was not about one person in particular. It’s all in a bunch. Talking about how my woman watched me mess up so much. Her watching the other person be a fool. I started writing it, but being vague. When I announce it on stage, I say, I wrote this about girl and she was mean!!!”
“Stand Up” shows Ruhl’s comical side. Starting with a distorted bass line with the drums following behind. Ruhl then comes in stating “Good morning congregation, so nice to see you hear on a Sunday morning.” To me, this is a song that may or may not characterize Ruhl’s take on religion. Sort of that sitting on the fence thing, which I can totally relate to having been within the confines of religion at various times in my life. My take on this may be inaccurate. There are certain points in the song that the lyrics confuse me. Had I initially dug into this song a little deeper at the time, I would have asked about his mind set in relation to this song. During the mid section of the song, Ruhl once again does a great impersonation of a preacher. He even goes as far as referring to himself as “Reverand Ruhl.” A pretty clever little antidote.
The ever so emotional side of Ruhl is prevalent on “Blown Away.” This is a favorite track of mine on the album. This song is so radio worthy. Ruhl was very candid, with an obvious emotion in his voice when he spoke of this fantastic composition. “That’s a favorite of mine off this record. My buddy Jamie Mandrel was diagnosed with heart problems. I’d go over and he’d be staring out the window. We did the song. I brought it over. He got to hear it before he passed. It was a day of hanging out with my boy. It means a lot. I get teary eyed just talking about it.”
“Sacred Circle” really has that classic EMN sound to it. The rhythm guitar work is very groove orientated with the guitar fills really adding a bluesy feel to the song. I love the dynamic of the guitar solo. The second guitar drops out with just the bass and drums carrying the solo. Kind of that old school Van Halen take on a song. Not too many layers allowing the solo to breath.
“Days Are Through” is another slow number. It really captures the essence of Ruhl’s voice. As I listen, I think to myself that there is no one on this earth that sings like Ruhl. There is a southern twang to his voice that really gives the song a great feel. The dynamics of the musicianship within are epic. There are great build ups with very pronounced musical stops and starts. As I was listening to this track just this morning, I was getting a Puddle Of Mudd “Blurry” vibe. This is a song that would fit in perfectly with that genre. Initially that Puddle Of Mudd song drew me to that band. A great song is a great song no matter what label you may put on it stylistically.
“Stand Up” is yet again showing EMN’s southern routes. What I’ve really found on this album is that every one of the heavy songs has a great groove. The guitar, bass and drums are all playing together. The timing is spot on. Of course, this song features Black Oak Arkansas singer Jim Dandy within the chorus. The portion that features Dandy has such a cool southern vibe to it. Ruhl had this to say about Dandy’s contribution: “We were hanging with Jim Dandy. We got to talking. Wouldn’t it be cool if you sang on the song? He’s been doing this a lot longer than us. He has that voice. It fit. We got in the studio and said, do what you want. Ramble on! We cut what we needed.”
“Swing Again” is maybe the fastest rocking song of all the eight compositions on the album. Not that the others didn’t rock hard, this is just a faster piece. Less groove orientated, more aggressively calculated. A great end to these fantastic eight songs.
The next three tracks are the live tracks I spoke of earlier. One song taken from each of the band’s first three albums. “Closet Down The Hall,” “Walls Come Down” and “Push” all possess the tightness and rawness of EMN’s live approach. I find that these songs are a great addition. It gives the listener two different aspects of the band. I find this format is perfectly calculated. This entices the buyer. Here are our eight new songs, but also included are three live tracks from our past. Of course, the videos are a nice touch as well. It is the third part of the act. “Push” is a live number with “Blown Away” and “Loco Crazy” being of the promotion dimension. Such a great package. HighVolMusic and Bill Chavis have done a fantastic job with the packaging as well. The cover really stands out. I absolutely am taken in by the green. Of course the album is available on CD and vinyl. When I asked Ruhl about the green vinyl, he was very excited to speak of its contents. Of course I was curious if it was going to be a limited pressing. “I assume it’s limited. Two pressings I believe. I can’t believe vinyl is coming back!”
So there we have it. I wish I had had this album a few months back when I did my top five of 2017. This would have made it tough on me not to pick it. Actually thinking about it, maybe it was better that I hadn’t heard it. I was very confident on my five choices at the time. This would have just thrown a curveball into the whole scenario. I can characterize my mindset now, quoting a great lyric by Dave Mustaine and Megadeth from the “Sweating Bullets” song, “Hindsight is always 20/20. Thinking back it’s still a bit fuzzy.” To me, that line fits my dilemma perfectly. It speaks to me in a way that says, “Had I woken up and smelt the roses, I would have bought this album from the get go, but I put it out of my mind quickly for some reason. Not realizing the impact it would have in the coming months.”
As we close out I will add this — the thing I find astounding about Grind is that once I get through the eleven songs, I find myself starting it all over again. It goes by so quickly. It leaves me salivating for more. It’s something I can really Grind my teeth too. That to me is a very flattering remark towards Every Mother’s Nightmare. Honestly, I don’t know how Rick Ruhl and Every Mother’s Nightmare keep doing it. Every studio album the band has done captures me in some way or another. On this one, the sound is quite different from the earlier Arista releases. A more modern take on the band’s earlier music, while still instilling the integrity of the original band. I highly recommend giving Grind a listen.
01. Loco Crazy
03. Upper Hand
04. Blown Away
05. Sacred Circle
06. Days Are Through
07. Stand Up
08. Swing Again
09. Closet Down The Hall (Live)
10. Walls Come Down (Live)
11. Push (Live)
12. Push (Video)
13. Blown Away (Video)
14. Loco Crazy (Video)
Rick Ruhl – vocals
John Guttery – guitar
Travis Butler – guitar
Troy Fleming – bass
Jim Phipps – drums
Lonnie Hammer – drums (1-11)
Zach Meyers – guitar (1)
Wayne Swinny – guitar (3)
Jim Dandy – vocals (7)
Produced by Justin Rimer
Live tracks produced by David Cowell
Every Mother’s Nightmare‘s “Swing Again” song:
EVERY MOTHER’S NIGHTMARE GRIND HighVolMusic Available on Amazon, iTunes, HighVolMusic, and great music outlets everywhere! Amazon https://goo.gl/Dwu4Ki HVM Shop https://goo.gl/Qx3RNS
Every Mother’s Nightmare‘s “Push” video:
‘Push’ the new video by Every Mother’s Nightmare from the new release ‘GRIND’. The band’s first full-length release in 15 years featuring new tracks ‘Push’, ‘Swing Again’, and ‘Days Are Through’. (C) 2017 HighVolMusic Now Available: Amazon: https://goo.gl/Dwu4Ki iTunes: https://goo.gl/xDgd6i HighVolMusic: https://goo.gl/6Q2KJF