Originally hailing from Grand Rapids, MI, hard rock group Pop Evil have been a presence musically for over a decade. Their most up-to-date work, Onyx, is the band’s attempt to move forward with their sound and an opportunity to stand out amongst the ranks. The 12-track album begins with “Goodbye My Friend,” an ominous guitar shredder of a song. The vocal parts of singer Leigh Kakaty match the instrumental quality of the material, his voice rough and tumble sounding, hinting at the nasally quality of Layne Staley. Pop Evil definitely have a contemporary rock feel, but clearly draw inspiration from rock groups of the ‘90s as well as outfits such as Alter Bridge.
“Trenches,” the first single to be released off Onyx, is a piece that on the surface seems to describe the trials of war, but once underneath that layer it is obvious that it has a much more general message of defying the odds. The vocal elements on the number vary from screeching high notes back down to a backing chorus of “ahs.” The guitar parts that repeat on the song are heavier, slowly increasing in intensity as they lead up to the chorus. There is an audience that, if not yet reached by this band, would be quickly captivated by the accessibility of their overall sound. This group is the average American heavy rock fan’s dream.
The fourth song, “Torn To Pieces,” is a slow, brokenhearted ballad with a simple, catchy melody that flows into an emotional solo. It seems about half of Onyx is slower rock jams while the remaining songs are fast-paced and heavy. A prominent cut that practically flies by the listener is “Welcome To Reality.” It’s a song made up of riff-driven lead lines and forcefully delivered lyrics. Pop Evil have made their mark within the rock genre and it seems to be a place they intend to remain in.
In A Word: Staple