Knoxville, TN-based hard rock duo Annandale are a feverish combination whose musical intensity has resulted in their current EP, Moving Forward. The five-track disc comes onto the listener strongly with “This Fight,” a song in which vocalist Ashley Grennor flaunts her range while guitarist Chad Grennor explores his chops. The cut has dark tones with a firm message with its guitar lead line remaining persistent. Its vocal parts are shared amongst the members, and their style of music quickly draws parallels with bands like Halestorm and Shinedown. This outfit has mastered the art of melding speedy riffs with melodic rock themes.

“Step One” is a number that flies through its length as well with a shredding riff and a thrashing tone at its helm. The male/female vocal parts intertwine seamlessly, adding layers of dimension to the rock song with an already catchy chorus. This pair fits a lot in and gets things accomplished with the few tracks on this CD. The tempo slows for the fourth piece, “Waiting,” an instrumentally intriguing ballad with emotionally driven lyrics. A climactic guitar part seals this number in the sweetest way as the other elements are blended precisely to accompany the instrumental apex.

Bringing the record to a close on a heavy note, Ashley is practically channeling Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia on “Broken Dreams.” This track utilizes dark and gloomy lyrical descriptions as the singers use their voices to haunt. An over-the-top solo bridges the start and finish of this song. The extra effort for an impassioned guitar part goes a long way and really is the icing on the cake for this album, with this piece being the best on Moving Forward. Annandale have this sound, the record, and the future of the genre in the palms of their hands.

In A Word: Real

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