If one wants a fairly succinct overview of the sound of emerging US alternative metal act Twelve Noon, they need only listen to the middle third of the band’s debut album.
In the space of three songs on Saints and Sinners the band ventures from Drowning Pool-style metal (‘Better Side’), to Nickelback-esque rock (‘Carry On’), and then to Bullet For My Valentine-type metal core (‘No Way Out’).
Twelve Noon straddles a few heavy music genres over this 10-track release. The variety of styles is sometimes a little bit jarring and doesn’t make for an entirely cohesive release, but there are some great songs here.
Opening track ‘Change My Ways’ is a heavy rocking highlight with big attitude from vocalist Michael Loew and a bigger sing-a-long chorus, and the catchy hooks continue on ‘Breaking Down’, boasting unhurried hard rock akin to Alter Bridge.
Title track ‘Saints and Sinners’ ups the ante with Loew, a multi-faceted singer, debuting his guttural vocals before reverting to a James Hetfield croon on the Creed-infused ‘Hope in Tragedy’.
‘Better Side’ and ‘No Way Out’ are more adventurous and meritorious outings, the former a groove metal outing that migrates to a brooding place of screams and double kick drums; the latter a metalcore-fashioned vehicle for lead guitarist John Devlin and drummer Justin Runkel to shine in.
Though there are a few blemishes from this Pittsburgh-based five-piece.
‘Carry On’ is layered with so much rock cliché and formulaic lyrics that it surely must be parody rather than stadium rock homage, Loew’s over-exaggerated vocals seemingly modelled on the Team America movie theme song.
‘Back for More’, both musically and lyrically, seems pulled from the Steel Panther handbook but without the sarcasm or bratty charm, but album closer ‘The End’, with some stellar work from Devlin and guitar colleague Rob Heil, is redemption.
Released just two years after the inception of Twelve Noon (also featuring Tim Clark on bass), Saints and Sinners hints at a band still looking for a distinct sound – or one that’s adventurous enough to not be pigeonholed.
Either way, Saints and Sinners is a pretty solid, if not a sometimes bewildering listen for heavy music fans.
Saints and Sinners is available now through via iTunes and Amazon. You can also stream it via Google Play.
Words by Lee Oliver