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Chest Rockwell


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Chest Rockwell Total Victory album cover
3.52 | 10 ratings | 4 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Being an Able Man, There are Always (5:29)
2. 2 Pumps Away (4:25)
3. Within 10 Paces I Cannot Fail (3:15)
4. Body Prop (4:25)
5. Body Prop 2 (3:53)
6. Body Prop 3 (4:24)
7. 11 is the New 7 (6:44)
8. Colossus (5:04)
9. Mortal Universe (7:34)

Line-up / Musicians

- Josh Hines / vocals, guitars, electric sitar
- Nick Rouse / drums, percussion
- Nick Stewart / bass, keyboard
- Seth Wilson / guitars
- Chris Hightower / additional guitars (track 5)

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
and to easy livin for the last updates
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CHEST ROCKWELL Total Victory ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CHEST ROCKWELL Total Victory reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This third full length production by US outfit Chest Rockwell is most certainly a charming aquaintance.

While their second album was a bit all over the place all the time in terms of stylistic expressions, this most recent creation is a bit more coherent; and the number of distinctly different styles have been reduced as well - and at least in this case the end result is a stronger effort overall.

The musical foundation this time around seems to be some sort of indie / alternative / post rock sound, with mellow and undistorted wandering guitars a central element in most compositions; using the instrument to provide textures just as much as to provide distinct melodies. The songs are generally on the quirky side too; with frequent changes in intensity, pace and sound.

Towards the end of the album we're treated to some stellar metal-dominated tracks too, and the two final tracks Colossus and Mortal Universe are highlighst of this venture alongside oddly named opening number Being An Able Man. There Are Always.

Well worth investigating by the adventurous music fan.

Review by Epignosis
3 stars Chest Rockwell is a pleasant surprise. They make excellent use of multiple clean guitars, maintaining an effervescent sound that doesn't get bogged down, yet keep some delightful treats tucked away in their 2009 album. The band dredg is a good comparison, as Chest Rockwell often sounds similar although not quite as memorable or robust in terms of composition, and has a singer with a lower voice. The vocal melodies are sometimes served on these rising chord progressions, which can be a bit uncomfortable in context with the rest of the music. With a couple of exceptions, there's nothing outstanding here, but there sure is much to enjoy.

"Being an Able Man. There are Always." A nice pop opener, this song has delightful clean guitar and gentle electronic percussion. It is more like a crossover track with post-rock tendencies.

"2 Pumps Away" This has a jaunty yet grungy sound with occasional Rush-like guitar riffs and synthesizer moments, but more of a modern pop-rock sound.

"Within 10 Paces I Cannot Fail" Old radio speeches about war carry on over acoustic guitar. Josh Hines said he wanted to write a piece that might work with Oriental martial arts cinema. The title comes from a line in the movie Hero.

"Body Prop" Several light electric guitars buoy the track, as an unexpected verse ensues, which consists of building drums throughout each line. The tapestry of clean electric guitars is a refreshing sound.

"Body Prop 2" Guitars are strummed in a static way as the bass provides the chord changes. Some fluid noises weave their way through the fabric like musical worms.

"Body Prop 3" Spoken word over clean, picked electric guitar makes for somewhat dull listening. After a heavy moment, some dark but hushed music begins, and it's quite lovely.

"11 is the New 7" A rattling bass opens this quirkily-titled instrumental, as a distorted guitar lead joins in. It has many intriguing passages and never settles into one groove, keeping things fresh and interesting. By far the most progressive and creative musical moment on the album, this should find favor with many people.

"Colossus" The band cranks up the distortion a bit, which admittedly is rather tinny and not to my liking, but gives one an idea of how edgier Chest Rockwell sounds.

"Mortal Universe" A pleasing riff and easygoing beat serve as the foundation for gentle male vocals. The ensuing staccato vocal section is rather irritating, however, and once again, that tinny distorted guitar returns. The final moments are harsh and grating and don't serve the flow of the rest of the song well at all.

Review by Raff
4 stars Like a lot of 'modern' progressive rock, Chest Rockwell are a band that is bound to divide listeners' opinions. Their music is of the kind that devotees of 'traditional' prog may very well hate, or simply consider 'not prog enough'. However, it also contains enough distinctive features to attract the attention of the more open-minded fans of the genre.

If I had to compare Chest Rockwell to one of the iconic bands of prog, I would definitely choose Rush. Though purists may scoff at the Canadian trio for having 'abandoned' the ways of true prog from the early Eighties onwards, they have undeniably never shied away from experimenting with vastly different genres, such as reggae or new wave - a simple fact that would make them forerunners of 'modern' prog's omnivorous nature.

At a first listen, the biggest source of inspiration on "Total Victory" would seem to be the diverse, hard-to-pinpoint 'alternative/indie' galaxy. Josh Hines' vocal style is indeed closer to alternative or grunge than to classic prog; in my view, it is also one of the album's weaker points. In fact, after listening to the two initial songs, I judged Chest Rockwell to be another good, yet somewhat overhyped outfit purported to be the 'next big thing' in the fundamentally conservative world of progressive rock. The strongly riff-based "Being An Able Man, There Are Always" can bring to mind grunge, or even the early work of U2, especially in the chugging guitar sound; while in "2 Pumps Away" the Rush comparisons start rearing their head, with the bass pushed at the forefront, shifting from a harsh and relentless sound when underpinning a gritty guitar solo, to a booming, meaty one during the song's catchy chorus.

However, with the third track things start getting really interesting for the true-blue prog fan. Shades of Pink Floyd circa "The Wall" or "The Final Cut", or even Roger Waters' solo output, lurk in the instrumental "Within 10 Paces I Cannot Fail", made up for the most part of snippets of recorded political speeches overlaid by odd electronic noises and melancholy acoustic guitar chords. The three parts of "Body Prop" bring the listener squarely into prog territory, and not just because of its structure. With plenty of odd time signatures, stellar drum and bass work, guitars in turn emotional and gritty, and occasional keyboard touches, it could be successfully compared to Rush's underrated Nineties output. The intense, guitar-driven ending to Part 1 also hints at a more controlled, less manic version of The Mars Volta; while Parts 2 and 3 take a more moody, atmospheric direction, especially Part 3 with its faint but pervasive sounds of water. Hines' vocal performance is quite powerful throughout, definitely his most convincing on the album.

"Total Victory" ends with a bang, as the last three tracks steer the sound towards metal territory. The spectacular instrumental "11 Is the New 7" is driven along by a pumping bass line and guitar licks straddling the line between melody and edginess; besides the obvious Rush comparisons, something here points to a tighter, less self-indulgent version of Dream Theater. The brisk, Iron Maiden-flavoured cavalcade of "Colossus", on the other hand, would have worked better as an instrumental on account of the somewhat lacklustre vocals. Album closer "Mortal Universe" (the longest item on the album) begins in muted fashion before developing into a heavy riff-fest with a military-sounding guitar line, pounding drums and the omnipresent, pneumatic bass cementing the song structure.

Judging by this album, Chest Rockwell undoubtedly have a bright future ahead of them. Their tight musicianship and songwriting skills should be enough to capture the attention of those prog fans who do not always expect new music to sound like a faithful rendition of Seventies-style standard fare. A solid 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for sheer interest value.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A partial victory

In 2009, Chest Rockwell returned with their latest album to date. Easily their most accomplished release, "Total victory" unfortunately remains deficient in the production and vocal areas. Admittedly, the vocals are an improvement on previous albums, but for my money they tend to spoil the overall sound. On the plus side, the songs are noticeably more melodic and the arrangements generally interesting. The guitar work is once again the high point of the album, complemented well by the keyboards when they are present. To these ears though, the sound is rather raw overall, an issue which greater use of keyboards might have gone a long way to addressing.

Things get off to a rather inauspicious start with some decidedly distasteful, perhaps even offensive lyrics for no obvious reason. The band go to some effort to embellish the songs, including some extensive use of archive audio recordings, especially on "Within 10 Paces I Cannot Fail", where they are the focus of the track.

The latter part of the album, starting with the instrumental "11 is the New 7" sees the band exploring generally heavier territories, sometimes with a metallic edge. These tracks tend to benefit from the shift in that direction, mainly because they feel more finished.

From a prog perspective, while one could argue that there are occasional nuances of such in the arrangements, this is almost exclusively an indie/alternative rock set. I must admit to total bemusement at the band's classification on this site as Neo-prog", but that is an issue to be dealt with by the site, as far as I can see the band lay no claims that their music is of that ilk.

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