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01. Lest the Professor Catches Fire
02. View from a Sinking Ship
03. Saddle Up and Ride
04. Getting the Last Word
06. Life Is Satisfactory
07. Mile High Cake
08. We Make Poor Decisions
Reviewed by: Nick
// Published: 4/1/2009
Scott Flaster knows his shit. As the brains behind the absolutely stellar Seventh Rule Recordings, he has spent the last five years delivering a slew of uniquely heavy records to the underground "masses" from his home base of Chicago, with recent albums from Indian, Wetnurse, and Light Yourself on Fire showing that the high quality standard continues to apply. And now with Flaster's own band, Millions, he's proving that he doesn't just have an ear for it -- he's more than capable of creating it as well.
But reducing Millions to one man would be a wrongful oversimplification. The band's debut full-length excels due to each of the four members constantly vying for the spotlight. Flaster and fellow axe-man Corey Lyons consistently drive home spastic, dueling guitar lines, saturated with both melody and energetic restlessness. Patrick O'Shea pumps out heavy-hitting rhythms behind the kit, driving every track at a determined pace. And Mark Konwinski rips through a number of Shellac-influenced bass lines, anchoring each song with memorable low end touches. Mix all of this together with a barrage of vocals shared between Flaster, Lyons, and Konwinski, and you've got the definition of an instrumentally well-balanced record.
Musically, Millions likes to cite Black Flag and King Crimson as the pair of influences butting heads on Gather Scatter. And with plenty of punk urgency and melodic guitar lines, it's easy to hear them (as well as a helping of 90s noise rock influence) throughout the record. This CD will have no trouble finding a loving home in the playlists of fans of Akimbo, another act known for clever amalgams of punk, metal, and classic rock. But while Akimbo went down an expansive, Neurot-appropriate path for their latest release, Jersey Shores, Millions went the other direction, cramming their brand of spastic melody into a nice sub-30 minute package. High-quality artwork by Nat Damm rounds out the album, but then again, it's hard not to expect that from a Seventh Rule band. Gather Scatter doesn't have a weak link anywhere. It's simply exceptional on every possible front.
This is undoubtedly the best record to fall into my hands in the first few months of 2009. It makes me remember that innovative bands can still bestow upon me a Christmas morning-like excitement all while reaffirming what a few already know and more and more are finding out: Seventh Rule is an easy choice for the shortlist of premiere underground metal and hardcore labels.
Bottom Line: Gather Scatter is an unbelievably impressive full-length debut for this Chicago foursome. It's one part melody, one part punk energy, and one part inventive rock, all wrapped up with enough off-time rhythms and coarse emotion to ensure the listener's engagement. It goes well with Akimbo and a lot of the current Louisville scene (Young Widows, Lords, Brain Banger, etc.). I like to use my "mandatory listening" stamp responsibly, but refraining from applying it to Millions would be a crime. Check this out.
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