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Anchored | Listen To This

by Mark Allen
Staff Writer —

With riffs large enough to rattle a cruise ship and more hooks than a fishing derby, Anchored could very well be the next big thing in modern hard rock. Not because they’re particularly fresh or innovative or bring anything new to the game, but for exact opposite reasons —they’re precisely what fans of the genre have come to expect, they rarely deviate from the accepted formula, and they are about as experimental as a shy girl in bed with a guy for the first time.

So creativity is not in Anchored’s compositional structure, but that said, they play their chosen style of commercial rock very well. There is nothing rebellious or dangerous about them, dulling their credibility with the old-school crowd down to somewhere south of zero, but that is not the audience Anchored is aiming for. Instead, these guys are catering to the Nickelback crowd and that is exactly the crowd that will eat this up. In fact, the executives over at EMI Music chowed down on Anchored’s hard rock platter and liked the taste so much that they signed the band and plan to reissue this album with new artwork and a new marketing campaign on January 24, 2012.

The first single the band released as an indie unit was “Dirty in Texas” and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then somewhere Chad Kroeger’s ego is massively tumescent, because the song borrows heavily from the Nickelback playbook. With its banging groove and powerfully infectious chorus, you can expect this song to soon be blaring in stripper joints all across the Lone Star State. A slightly altered version, called “Rowdy in Texas,” has already been licensed by the Dallas Cowboys so they can crank it up at home games, proof that the song is a certified arena rocker.

The band’s first single from their EMI Music rerelease is “Savior,” which the label is giving a major push with an “explicit” Hugh Heffner-approved music video featuring a gorgeous and at times topless Playboy model exposing flashes of R-rated skin. The lyrics match the sexuality: “Hey, pretty baby, won’t you come in / There’s always room for angels in my den of sin.” Hinder would definitely give this one the old thumbs up…though if they just finished watching the rather arousing video, you may want to ask them where those thumbs have been.

As the album progresses, you will hear some Skillet, some Burn Halo, some Saving Abel…you get the idea. Anchored makes no apology for targeting mainstream rock radio, borrowing from the biggest names in the genre because they want to be one of the biggest names in the genre. They slip in a little southern rock heat once in a while to spice things up but that is as cutting edge as it gets. Luckily, while they may not be doing anything different than a bazillion other bands have done before, they are doing it better than most. The front half of the album is better than the back—the band definitely blow their load around the midpoint—but even that is in keeping with modern rock trends, which tend to overload the front of albums with the radio hits and bloat the back with fluff and filler.

Bottom line, the band’s sound is firmly anchored on modern hard rock turf and this review can easily be summed up thusly: if you enjoy groups like Nickelback, Hinder, Black Stone Cherry, etc., then you’ll enjoy this one as well. But if you would rather amputate your ears with a hacksaw than punish them with modern rock that panders to the mainstream, well, either avoid this album like a vegan avoiding veal or head down to the tool section of your local hardware store.

Genre: Modern Hard Rock

Brandan Narrell (vocals)
Joel Estes (guitar, vocals)
Josh Franklin (bass, vocals)
Matt Clark (drums, vocals)
B.G. Simpson (guitar, vocals)

Track Listing
1. Dirty in Texas
2. Savior
3. We Had Everything
4. By Your Side
5. Last Night
6. Bad Timing
7. Save Me
8. All That
9. You
10. Miss Stress
11. My World


Label: Independent

Hardrock Haven rating: 7/10