Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007)

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007, Godlyke)

  1. Anyone Else
  2. Say Whatcha Mean
  3. Middle Of The Road
  4. Karmakaze
  5. Take Aim
  6. Thank You
  7. Invisible Slaves
  8. Be Here Now
  9. Hear Me
  10. We Don’t Need It
  11. Yeah Yeah Yeah
  12. Eye Of The Jedi

Band Lineup:
Elaine Tuttle – Lead Vocals
Pat Piegari – Guitar
Kevin Bolembach – Bass
Ross Kantor – Drums*
Courtney Williams – Drums

*(currently in band, did not play on album)

Producer: Alan Evans

Total Time = 52:18

Infernophonic MySpace page
Godlyke Distributing, Inc.

Infernophonic was formed in 2006 by former Non-Fiction bassist Kevin Bolembach. After recruiting Elaine Tuttle (vocals), Pat Piegari (guitar), and Ross Kantor (drums) from the talent-rich New Jersey Rock scene, Infernophonic began writing and recording this debut album while perfecting their live performance. Infernophonic came to my attention a couple of months ago when I stumbled upon their MySpace page and ‘Eye Of The Jedi’ started playing on their MySpace player. I was impressed right away with the energetic vocals of Tuttle and the funky Hard Rock style the band had going, ‘Jedi’ almost sounding like a Rage Against The Machine song. Now I’m not a big fan of Rage Against The Machine but the “big” sound the band has, along with the Star Wars reference in the title, really caught my attention.

The music isn’t Heavy Metal, more like ’70s style Hard Rock with a little bit of Funk mixed in. Piegari has this heavy, sometimes distorted, guitar sound that blends the best of Joe Perry and Tony Iommi with Tom Morello. There is a thick groovy crunch to the riffs and the soloing is pure and melodic, channelling the best of the ’70s guitar masters with the hybrid styles of today’s guitar heroes. Bolembach and Kantor are a formidable rhythm section with a thumping funky bass that compliments the guitars and a powerful hard drum sound that isn’t overdone, just played well. You can hear some influences from Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Glenn Hughes & Roger Glover (Deep Purple), and definitely Les Claypool (Primus) in Kevin’s bass playing, that’s a really cool mixture. The Flea and Claypool comparisons are easy to decipher but, being a serious Purple fan, I could also hear that funky Hughes and/or Glover bass from the ’70s. (Both Purple bassists are completely under-rated, especially Glenn Hughes, who is usually recognized more for his gifted singing voice than his bass playing.) Ross Kantor plays his kit within the context of the song. He has a strong beat but he doesn’t overplay or overpower the other musicians, he plays in the pocket and supports the rhythm. A lot of drummers today try to dazzle with how fast they can hit the skins but Kantor opts for more groove with his power. As I mentioned, Elaine Tuttle is very impressive on the mic, she has this really powerful, energetic voice that reminds me of Heart’s Ann Wilson. The difference between Tuttle and many of her peers is that she is a pure Rock singer, she’s not operatic or atmospheric, she just sings with power in her voice and also retains the melody.

The album kicks off aggressively with ‘Anyone Else’, the band immeadiately proving that they are Hard Rock with some quick riffs and an high powered rhythm. Tuttle completely attacks the mic and the guitar solo is very good. A quick drum flurry opens ‘Say Whatcha Mean’, one of my favorites on the album. The band goes for a simpler main riff and a catchier, repetitive chorus while the bass and drums really drive the song. There’s a small breakdown just before the solo that quickly sounds a little Purple-ish with what sounds like a Hammond organ but could be the bass? ‘Middle Of The Road’ continues the aggressive hard tone set by the first two songs but ‘Karmakaze’ finds a mid-pace grind that Tuttle exploits vocally to the point she’s blowing out of the speakers!

Things pick up speed again with ‘Take Aim’ but it’s more of a funky, dare I say almost danceable, type of song. There’s a really cool groove to the song that makes it ready for Rock radio, very accessible and fun. When the guitar solo hits I noticed a little Eddie Van Halen influence in there. I would put ‘Thank You’ and ‘Karmakaze’ in the same boat as far as they are both mid-paced and have a powerful vocal but there is this spacey guitar effect and the cool bass line on the slowed down chorus that really accentuates the beauty of Elaine’s voice. The funkiest song has to be ‘Invisible Slaves’ because of the bass, I can just picture Bolembach’s fingers running up and down like Flea or Les Claypool. ‘Be Here Now’ has a ’70s Classic Rock feel with subdued guitar tones that sound like an organ/keyboard while there is another Funk feel to ‘Hear Me’ similar to ‘Invisible Slaves’ except that the pace is slower, there also sounds like another Rage Against The Machine influence in the guitar playing. The pace speeds up with ‘We Don’t Need It’ for more a more straight up Hard Rock style with Tuttle using her more aggressive vocal style and Piegari using a cleaner edge to his soloing. There is a really cool bass and drum sound on ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ and the vocals have this dark edgy aspect but the chorus is a little too simple making it a disappointment but ‘Eye Of The Jedi’ ends things on a high note with it’s Rage Against The Machine style along with a little bit of Rap. I’m definitely not a fan of Rap but for some reason it works for me on ‘Jedi’.

Bottom Line:
Infernophonic is one of those bands that has the potential to reach out to a good cross-section of Music fans: Hard Rock, Modern Rock, and even Pop fans can find something to like on SPARK IT UP. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear many of the songs on this album on today’s Rock radio. The musicianship is top notch, each member playing their instrument extremely well and blending together to form a solid wall of interesting sound. I was taken in by the varied bass lines and guitar solos throughout the album but the shining star is singer Elaine Tuttle who puts on a great performance that was unexpected in it’s aggressiveness and technique. A band can have the greatest players in the world but it means nothing if the singer sucks, Elaine Tuttle is a great Rock singer. I would put her in the same company as Julie Westlake (Hydrogyn) and Veronica Freeman (Benedictum), another two female Hard Rock singers that are among my favorites.

Favorite songs: ‘Say Whatcha Mean’, ‘Middle Of The Road’, ‘Karmakaze’, ‘Take Aim’, ‘Thank You’, ‘Eye Of the Jedi’

4 comments on “Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007)

  1. Elaine – You beat me to it! I was just catching up on sending oout links to bands & labels and there was your comment! I sent the link to you thru the band’s MySpace a few minutes ago. Excellent album, thanks for sending it in.

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