Milwaukee has a long and rich metal heritage - ok, perhaps not, but it does have that scene in Wayne’s World where Alice Cooper discusses the Algonquian pronunciation of the city’s name backstage with his band, which counts right? Unencumbered by the weight of history then come Three Left with their blend of groove metal riffing and hard rock melodies.
The Calling is their second independently released album and it’s a big, bold, confident affair. It is aggressive and powerful but retains an admirable accessibility. The album provides an immediate hit and is packed with huge choruses and readymade moshpit anthems that you imagine would go down excellently at a club night or blasted out at one of the big summer festivals, providing the sort of visceral thrills that Five Finger Death Punch have made their forte in recent years.
Songs like ‘Next Time’ and ‘Mind of a Maniac’ would sit well on any rock radio station’s playlist and the album as a whole is reminiscent of that mid-nineties period after Grunge but before Nu-Metal became dominant. There are hints of Pantera, Fear Factory and even Load-era Metallica - although the harmonica licks on ‘Whiskey Bent and Hellbound’ have more southern authenticity than James Hetfield wearing a cowboy hat ever did. In fact when Three Left do divert from the metal and add a little Americana to their sound it adds a whole new dimension to their sound and it’s an area that hopefully they will explore further on future recordings.
For an independent album the production is high quality if uncomplicated and that might be the best way to sum up the band’s music too. Even as they shift across styles and genres it is done with the minimum of fuss, always putting the song first and keeping everything tight and together. They are well-honed riffing machine, remarkably so considering that this is only their second album.
There are a couple of missteps along the way, album opener ‘Three Minutes to Midnight’ is an over long and fairly pointless quasi industrial intro track that isn’t really representative of the band’s sound and ‘Release The Beast’ is lyrically quite cringeworthy. The album also feels a little too brief, it’s over just as it starts to grip you and considering the first track is little more than filler you’re left with the feeling that it really could have done with a couple more songs. It is a solid, but not spectacular record, difficult to fault and yet also not quite fulfilling the potential the band very obviously have.
Ultimately, though, The Calling has enough good tracks to outweigh the bad and in an era of metal that lends itself more to the cerebral than to circle pits it’s nice to have something come along that you can just bang your head to.
Oh, and it’s pronounced Mill-e-wah-que...
Three Minutes to Midnight
Secrets of the Vine
Whiskey Bent and Hellbound
Mind of a Maniac
Release the Beast
Chadwick Davis – Vocals
Rich Czebotar – Guitars
Dan Beall – Guitars
Ron Hardcastle – Bass
John Miller – Drums
Buy The Calling here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/threeleft