SLAVE TO THE SYSTEM – Slave To The System


Release date: February 21, 2006

User Review
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There is no arguing that great songs make a great Rock ‘N’ Roll record. If you’re looking for the next great Rock N’ Roll record, pick up Slave to the System’s self-titled debut. Sounding like a cross between Guns N’ Roses and Soundgarden, this band makes a statement right out of the gate.

The band consists of vocalist/guitarist Damon Johnson and bassist Roman Glick from Brother Cane, and guitarist Kelly Gray and drummer Scott Rockenfield of Queensrÿche fame. The band was formed as side project for the guys to let loose and create music with no demographic target in mind. “We wanted the boundaries left open” says Rockenfield; and what they’ve created is an effortless, radio-friendly Hard Rock record; heavy guitar riff-oriented Rock with a strong emphasis on melodies and strong choruses.

The album kicks off with “Stigmata,” a fast number that sounds reminiscent of the aforementioned GNR days; a lot of swagger and a heavy thumping bass line drives the song forward. “Ruby Wednesday” and “Slave To The System” keep the tempo going. Following is the slower AOR number, sure to break into the local radio markets, “Live This Life.” “Cruz Out Of Control” literally sounds like it could be Chris Cornell at the beginning; it’s not a bad thing that Johnson sounds similar to one of Rock’s leading vocalists.

One dramatic difference between Slave to the System and Queensrÿche is Rockenfield’s drumming. Known as one of Metal’s top drumming talents, Rockenfield keeps a solid time that is always very pronounced and usually plays on top of the beat. Here he is still a rocking force, but his playing feels a lot more organic with a stronger emphasis on the back-beat.

His solid time with looser reigns suits the band well, as the songs are built on his solid framework, enabling Glick to lay down a strong groove and for Gray and Johnson to loosen things up a la Richards & Wood or Perry & Whitford.

Ranging from straight-ahead Rock to AOR singles and fuzzy groove pieces, Slave to the System has definitely embraced its boundary-less attitude and created a multi-dimensional Rock ‘N’ Roll record. It is the kind of record that hearkens back to the early days of Rock when albums were released consisting of solid compositions all the way through as opposed to today’s single or two surrounded by fillers. It is early in the year, but Slave to the System has raised the bar for best album of 2006.


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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