DC4 – Explode

DC4 - Explode
  • 8/10
    DC4 - Explode - 8/10


Chavis Records
Release date: October 28, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

As Manowar stated in their 1996 song, “Brothers Of Metal we will always be there, standing together with hands in the air”, they weren’t kidding about it. The Duncan family along with Rowan Robertson are kicking and rocking with DC4’s second release and you can say that an effort has been made to “explode” the world.

DC4 went on the road in 1997, carving the world with their Hard Rockin’ Heavy Metal blowout. The band consists of Jeff Duncan, who is an active member of the US Heavy Metallers, Armored Saint. Rowan Robertson, who was in Dio’s lineup on the 1990 album, Lock Up The Wolves, and then there are Jeff’s two brothers. Shawn Duncan, who in his early days was in the Heavy Metal group Odin, and Matt Duncan, which DC4 is his main claim to fame.

In their formation year, the band released their first official EP, on their own, that went by the name of Mood Swings. 5 years later DC4 signed with the label Rising Sun and under it released its first full length release, Volume One. After another break, that lasted 6 years, the crew released its second release, that is being reviewed here, Explode, and with this release they give some great reasons to “explode”.

The good production of the album, which was recorded in several places in Los Angeles, was handled by Jeff Duncan’s band mate, bass player Joey Vera, who became a highly sought producer. Vera and DC4 were able to develop a good sound that very much resembles the late era of W.A.S.P and in some songs resembling some AC/DC markers like in “Rock N’ Roll Disease”. The guitars are crunchy, trebled and sharp as a needle. The bass is deep and mainly supportive like in many other bands with nothing special in addition. The drums have a deep and full snare sound that gives a lot of power.

Musically, the band unleashes their influences with heavy weight poundings. The music is very strong with some sense of Rock aggressiveness with some riffs that can be recalled as hints of the 80s along some cool classic Hard Rock solos with feel and conviction. The solos are less like the Heavy Metal style, then a late Hard Rock 70s – early 80s feel to them. In most of the album, the band succeeded in blending their Heavy Metal and Hard Rock well with tracks like: the opening “Explode”, the AC/DC influenced “Rock ‘N’ Roll Disease” and the heavy “God Complex”. As expected from many bands in this sub-genre, the last song in the album is a ballad. “Hate Parade” is a very nice acoustic / electric ballad with an important message. Overall, the music is somewhat exciting and something, which is not connected to the musical section, is missing to bring this album to its ultimate peak.

The band issues several themes around their new release. As many, they feed on the strength and power of Rock N’ Roll with “Rock N’ Roll Disease”. The self-titled song talks about never giving up and fighting for your right for what you want for yourself. “Experiment” and “Cabin Fever” are hard songs about radical changes in life that began smooth and perfect moving on to be darker, all as having some sort of lesson to give.

Some examples of songs that are against the words of preachers, comes in the track “God Complex” which is a very good example of how your mind is drilled with gospel – “Say you don’t believe it, why you acting like Jesus Christ”. “Candy Caine” is a Hard Rockin’ song about this hard rough woman who stepped on a few hearts in her life. There is a nice analogy between the Candy Cane sugar bars to this woman. Everybody likes and wants it. The same goes with this Candy woman. The closing ballad, as was written earlier, has an important message to deliver about the end of life and the causing of pain by hate without knowing why.

The Duncan family and Robertson do a good job all around the album, as is expected from experienced musicians as they are. Duncan and Robertson are magnificent in the guitars’ section and marching with some great main riffs and mind blowing solos with examples of “Explode”, “Rock N’ Roll Disease”, “Candy Caine” and “Cabin Fever”. As was mentioned before in the musical section, there is something missing in this release to bring it to its peak and almost to perfection. The vocal line by Jeff Duncan is good and It can be seen that he is very influenced by his vocalist, John Bush, in Armored Saint. Along with Bush, Jeff has some other influences from the Blues genre. In some songs, like “Candy Caine” he even sounds like a rough version of the whiny Ozzy.

With all of Jeff’s positive abilities he still lacks power in his vocals and that can be an important part in an album. The vocals, along with the other instruments in a Metal band, contribute to provide power to the release according to the Metal code. Jeff is a good vocalist but he has to do some work on being more exciting and wilder to make the band’s material more flowing. In many cases, the vocalist can capitalize on points where the other members are weak. The song “Long Hard Road To Lost” is an average number that, if Jeff could step up his performance, could be a first class song.

DC4 has made a good effort on making, Explode, to be a good release, but it could have been more than a good release. In some areas, the music sounds a bit anemic like in “Long Hard Road To Lost”, that is mainly saved by the solo at the end as in “Disturbed”. However, there are some crackers in this one. “Explode” is a great first shot and presents Jeff as a Bush marker. The main riffs are a bit complex and the chorus is great. “Rock N’ Roll Disease” is almost an AC/DC tribute but with more power. “Cabin Fever” is a mini-speedster with crushing riffs and a strong chorus. “Candy Caine” is an ultimate song with catchy phrases and great heavy riffs. The ballad “Hate Parade” can be considered a success.

The Duncan family and Mr. Robertson are going in the right direction for recognition. This is only their second release and they can do a much better job to produce a classic. They got the tools and experience and they have the will to make it. The Metal world should wait for the band’s next effort – it will be worth the wait.


  • Lior Stein

    Lior was a reviewer, DJ and host for our Thrash Metal segment called Terror Zone, based out of Haifa, Israel. He attributes his love of Metal to his father, who got him into bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Boston, and Queen. When he was in junior high he got his first Iron Maiden CD, The Number Of The Beast. That's how he started his own collection of albums. Also, he's the guitarist, vocalist and founder of the Thrash Metal band Switchblade. Most of his musical influences come from Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Overkill, and Annihilator.

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