Brennan Dylan is one of the more energetic and likeable people I have encountered while reviewing music. A lot of the material I receive for review, that doesn’t come from a label or my own obsessive searching, comes from bands that seem to use a carpet-bombing approach to self-promotion; they upload their album to a storage locker site and then throw out impersonal download links to everyone in the world hoping someone will listen. Maybe they look at it thinking if they throw enough shit at the wall something might stick, but I tend to see it more like opening my door to find a burning bag of dog shit on my front step. Some bands can get away with this because their music is incredible, but I tend to find that a lot of bands that don’t bother putting much effort into selling reviewers on their album don’t end up having much to offer in the first place.
I just love getting emails from random bands that boil down to “Dear Reviewer, we love your site, please check us out.” Translation: “We have never looked at your site and probably never will, unless you review us and send us a link, because otherwise we will never know you reviewed us, because we don’t actually look at your site.” My name is plastered all over the damn site; if you can’t take a few seconds to know my name and address me personally, why should I take the time to listen to your (probably crap) band?
I apologize to Brennan for going off the range at the beginning of his review, but the point I was intending to make is that Brennan is NOT one of those people. From day one he has made personal and continued contact, and let me tell you, that sort of thing makes all the difference. I would have reviewed his EP even if I thought it was horrible, just because he is so good at communicating and promoting. Luckily for me reviewing the EP is easy, because it is really good.
Brennan studied at Berklee College of Music, released some solo material and was named Rock Guitarist of the Year at the Los Angeles Music Awards. I think it is safe to say he has the guitar parts pretty well in hand. Men Without Armies is rounded out by bass player and singer Bill Davis and drummer Roger Winter.
The band’s self-titled debut EP contains six songs. My introduction to the band was actually the EPs second track, “The Devil’s Bride”, because Brennan sent me the video for the song. That was all it took to get me wanting to hear more. The guitars are pretty shredding and they are balanced out by one hell of a catchy chorus hook. I may listen to a lot of extreme metal, but I’m still a sucker for a well-crafted vocal hook when it falls within an equally well-crafted song. “The Devil’s Bride” is a song I keep coming back to again and again.
After hearing “The Devil’s Bride” I downloaded the rest of the EP, and while listening to the track “NYC” I was pleased to make another connection with Bill’s voice. Almost immediately I was like “Chuck Billy???” Bill has the ability to come across as a near dead-ringer for Chuck Billy from the early Testament albums. How could I not love that? That was the clincher that decided I am now a big fan of Men Without Armies.
I would also like to note the song “Metal Rain” which contains the refrain “Metal’s my religion.” Well now, as a self-professed Metal Disciple, that plays right into the underlying theme of my site, so you know I’m going to dig that one. It also doesn’t hurt that the song has a driving beat, heavy guitars and a catchy chorus.
Men Without Armies packs a lot of great moments into a mere six songs. I look forward to hearing a full-length album from these guys in the future. Check out the embedded videos below to hear “The Devil’s Bride” and “NYC.”