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The Strongest Proof
One Percent
Phratry Records

Matt Tomlinson leads The Strongest Proof like an army captain forging ahead of his troops, armed with a singing voice similar to the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl. His band's new CD, One Percent, is 100% pure hard rock, which uses '90s grunge rock as its primary stylistic template.

Tomlinson may have a gruff voice, but he only resorts to getting overly screamy during "Windswept." The group, which also includes Tony Roth (guitar), Rob Stanley (bass), and Tony Bryant (drums), backs him up with tight, grinding rock & roll. Although The Strongest Proof is obviously adept at sledge hammering its tunes into submission with plenty of metallic crunch, it nevertheless lacks Foo Fighters' innate ability to combine such musical smackdown with equally memorable melodies. Without tunes to hang onto, the listener too often feels like he/she is getting pummeled by the aural onslaught with no escape in sight. Getting back to the military analogy, this is overkill.

Tomlinson and Roth's guitar work sticks to meat and potatoes hard rock riffs for the most part, with little that is fancy being added. In other words, there aren't any fret-burning or note defying guitar solos included. Stanley and Bryant also deserve credit for their consistently interlocking rhythmic grooves. They're especially at their best with "Never Leave The Ground," which puts a non-retractable Kung Fu grip on the beat.

Groups like Soundgarden and Nirvana broke into the mainstream because they also knew how to balance their anguished vocal utterances with melodic lines that stuck in the mind, leech-like. The Strongest Proof comes on just a little too strong here, and One Percent is regrettably forgettable.

- Dan MacIntosh

Track Listing:
1. This Empty Town
2. Windswept
3. Never Leave The Ground
4. One50
5. The Curse
6. Live For Something
7. Tremble
8. Where are We Going

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