|Tesla Into The Now||Sanctuary Records|
Tesla really had a job ahead of them to come back after so long apart. The band's problems were widely publicized, none more than Tommy Skeoch's drug addiction.|
Time has also moved on and 2004 sees a whole new playing field compared with the time when their last studio album was released – some 10 years back.
But the guys took the challenge of a return very seriously – evident in the time it has taken the band to write, record and chose this selection of songs.
I'm very pleased to say that I don't think the band could have done any better and have really made a great album for these times.
It's more contemporary than I anticipated it would be, yet retains enough of the classic Tesla sound to please fans and perhaps prove to be a fresh force on commercial radio again.
Tesla's band members all had their own solo things going, with Jeff Keith and Tommy Skeoch's Bar 7, Frank Hannon's Moon Dog Mane and Brian Wheat's Soulmotor both featuring more modern approaches than Tesla's classic hard rock sound.
I see the songs of Into The Now garnering influences from both Bar 7, the super heavy Soulmotor and the band's own classic sound - molding those styles into something fresh and new.
Into The Now is also heavier than anticipated and also uses more of the modern rock style tuned-down guitar riffs, but it's Jeff Keith's fabulous vocals and the band's rhythm section that remind us of what the band always sounded like.
Track By Track:
The band breaks into the album's heaviest and most modern track to open the album. Into The Now certainly let's listeners know where the band is at. The track features dark and heavy guitar riffs and a deeper than usual rasp from vocalist Jeff Keith. The chorus doesn't break the sonic attack at all. It's relatively short, but effective. There isn't any big guitar solos, but rather some production effects and vocal filters used mid-song. All very effective and cleverly done to prove Tesla can update and remain cool.
Look @ Me kicks off and closes with the same snappy guitar/drum beat. The guitars aren't quite as tuned down as the title track, but remain heavy and pack a punch. The chorus remains short, but is more typical of what we expect from Tesla.
What A Shame is even closer to the classic sound of the band's past. The chorus is stronger than either of the opening tracks and the song features that unmistakable electric/acoustic hybrid the band is famed for. A great song that has strong potential for rock radio.
Heaven Nine Eleven changes the pace of the album nicely. This is a dark and groovy hard rocker with a strong hint of the classic Tesla sound, just heavier. Things are varied up a little by the use some vocal effects during the chorus and a perfect build in intensity to the heavy chorus break. This track is another great example of the band updating their sound and using cleaver production techniques to blend the old with the new.
Words Can't Explain could be lifted from just about any of the band's past albums, given that's its acoustic driven with a riff-heavy chorus. The song builds and gets heavier as it goes and is really one for the old die-hards. Another potential hit song.
It wasn't surprising to see Caught In A Dream used as the album's first single. It's easily the album's most commercial track and is a really enjoyable acoustic ballad with a big chorus hook.
Miles Away is an interesting track. It clocks in over 6 minutes and is a lyrically touching track utilizing an acoustic verse, before launching into a heavy guitar riff bridge. Another musically intelligent and interesting track.
Mighty Mouse is a straight ahead rocker with a modern twist. Not the best or my favourite track from the album. Got No Glory is one of the album's heaviest tracks. Featuring a killer guitar riff, the song isn't one of the more melodic, relying more on the impact of those guitar riffs.
Come To Me is another acoustic driven, laid back number with a good chorus hook. While it is acoustic driven, it's another track that sounds new and features a great lead vocal.
Recognize is another darker and heavier track, even if the tempo is pretty slow. The song has a bridge-chorus set up, where the tempo picks up, with an aggressive guitar riff.
Only You closes the album with another new twist. This is an all acoustic track with strings and a truly haunting feel.
Into The Now really is a great example of a classic band moving into the present, but without abandoning what is expected of them – their classic sound.
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