Chuck Norris Experiment

Right Between the Eyes

Written by: BW on 28/09/2014 21:48:57

Yes, I’ll admit it. I decided to review The Chuck Norris Experiment mainly because of the name. It is a very easy thing to do and as much as it may not be the professional thing to do at times, at least it breaks the monotony. The thing is though, it isn’t a band named after that infamous martial arts action star, it is actually in tribute to the legendary blues guitarist Charles Norris, obviously affectionately known as Chuck. I only wish I could love this new album of theirs with as much TLC.

See, I have a bit of a problem with this record, to be brutally honest with you. I mentioned earlier about breaking the monotony of things, which their most recent album “Right Between the Eyes” really doesn’t manage to do. The songs have that unerring whiff of being a little stale and not of any individual substance. You could put them on any generic album and you really would not know the difference. This does sound a bit harsh, but I always say what I hear and all I’m listening to are songs that seem to just be the same kind of thing over and over again.

As a perfect example, let me draw your attention to the songs “Earth is Shaking” and “Under the Knife”. It is bad enough that songs can sound the same, but when you could realistically splice the ends off these and make one big track without needing to change the key or ANYTHING you begin to feel that there is just no soul to this rock & roll. “Under the Knife” gets particular mention because I got lost after listening to the almost limitless “Come On!” chants throughout. This was one of the main reasons that I felt so empty after listening to this album a few times.

It happens in “Black Leather” as well. It almost feels like it tries to have you remember what the name of the track is in case you had forgotten by 20 seconds. Some people may be thinking that I’m being a little too picky, but if you have a listen on Spotify you’ll see exactly where I’m coming from. Besides, if we don’t show tough love, how will things get better?

Listening to some of their older albums I seem to see a pattern. If this is what the fans like then I do feel that it won’t matter what I say on here because it does sound the same as more or less everything that has come before it. As a music lover I like to see a little piece of evolution thrown in over time to try and spice up things a little, but with The Chuck Norris Experiment I just don’t feel that, which is a bit of a shame.

It isn’t to say that the album doesn’t have the odd saving grace. I mean I do like “Gratitude” and the instrumental only “You Are One of Us” as these do pick the pace up a little and dare to be a little different, but the rest of it all really doesn’t show a great sign of change. It not only sticks to a safe formula, it almost goes out of the way to patent what they’ve been using for ages. They aren’t the only band that does this though, which is what makes it more annoying.

If you want a rock ‘n roll band with a screechy lead singer and some pingy guitars then you would be better looking towards Airborne or the two albums that Velvet Revolver produced before Scott Wailand went off the rails, but to those of you who aren’t die hard fans of this particular Swedish band, might I suggest looking somewhere else, as this just feels like either a band running out of ideas pretty quickly or a group of musicians who are just getting lazy due to their fanbase loving them through hell or high water. I may get flak for this and in a way I hope I do because it may well show that some bands just aren’t showing enough creativity these days to give us a burst of their creative abilities, but things like constant mediocrity need to be sorted in albums like this.

The simple fact is “Right Between the Eyes” pretty much misses the target in most cases, with only the odd track having anything that will stay with you or give you the decision to play it again. Other than the two tracks I mentioned previously, this album fails to ignite a spark in your soul and really doesn’t get going. The intro piece is good at getting you primed and ready for something cool, but it never really materialises. The full album really just sits in the average section and just doesn’t grab you. The saddest thing is that there will be a lot of bands where this will apply to because quite a lot of them are just as guilty, but The Chuck Norris Experiment with this album in particular have committed this crime so well that it is a standout for me.

Looking back at the namesake that we all thought this band were based on, we would hope that the symbolism that holds would refer to something that is rugged, determined and just that special person that is beyond awesome. This album isn’t that. It isn’t completely terrible, don’t get me wrong, but it will never set the world on fire. It just sits there watching the world go by thinking that one day it will be up there with the best of them. In order to do that their next album needs to be a huge step up AND forward to grab the attention of those who aren’t fully fledged fans. There is a significant room for improvement and much to do in order for this to be up there on a global scale, but like Mr Norris, there’s never a bad moment for that to start happening. It just needs to happen pretty damned fast.


Download: Gratitude, You Are One of Us
For The Fans Of: Airborne, Velvet Revolver, Psychopunch, The Graviators

Release date 26.03.2014

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