True Grit by MIKE MASSER is an album that combines eighties rock energy with a seething hard rock edge to create some bold, confident, and aggressive tracks that will get your blood pumping while developing a tonal consistency and melodic throughline that keeps the project cohesive from start to finish.
The first track, The Phoenix, sets the tone for the album with these distorted, crunchy guitars, building that classic rock sound. By starting slow, it allows contrast to develop within the mix. The slower, less intense sections allow for better build-ups throughout. They allow the louder sections a sense of juxtaposition. It makes the quieter moments more meaningful and the bolder sections significantly more powerful. When the wave of guitars takes over the mix at around the forty-second mark, they are more impactful because of the slow and tense build-up that has led to that point.
The next track, True Grit, if anything, increases the pace. This is a mean feat considering the intensity of The Phoenix. The song has a deep, more gravelly delivery that blends with harsh and confident lyrics. Lyrics like “Suck it up, you know the drill” are contrasted with the heavy, grinding electric guitar, creating a powerful vibe.
After some of the previous tracks leaned more towards the hard rock side, Wild Child changes the tone with more of the eighties influences showing through. This change allows the vocalist to show off some more melodic delivery and the instrumental to flow at a slower pace. It highlights different skills to other tracks on the album. There’s this beautiful dissonance in the chorus created from the layers of the guitars which, I feel, is thematically linked to the idea of a problem child feeling lost in the world. I like the subtle connection between the themes of the track and the melody. It’s these imperfections that really bring the story to life. These same influences are taken a step further on Bended Knee, with an acoustic ballad about love. Although, tonally it is very different, there is a consistency in the honesty of the delivery that connects this track to the album. It says a lot that the vocalist can perform these more emotional tracks and the intense hard rock ones with the same unbeatable confidence and charisma.
Closing out the album, Get Out Alive brings the chaotic mix of influences together, creating an anthem full of hard rock attitude and eighties energy. The guitars are characteristically crunchy and the vocals are powerful. It’s the perfect way to tie together the whole project.
Overall, True Grit is an exciting rock album with a surprising amount of heart and sonic diversity. It’s that vulnerability that elevates it above the competition.