HGR CD Review: Small Town Titans

SMALL TOWN TITANS – FROM FIGHT TO FLIGHT (no label) York’s Small Town Titans deliver a big, hard-hitting modern rock sound on their first full length CD release, From Fight to Flight. Singer/guitarist Phil Freeman, lead guitarist Ben Guiles, bassist Ed Roberts and drummer Jonny Ross generate a powerful, riveting modern rock sound over the disc’s 11 tracks. The group draws on 1990s hard rock influences like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Temple of the Dog, while incorporating a rigid modern metal/hardcore edge. Disturbed bassist John Moyer co-wrote four of the songs; including the disc-opener “Flight 24,” which appropriately sets the tone for Small Town Titans’ bone-jarring journey, the “The Great Escape” with its angular arrangement, the powerful ode to media manipulation “A Beautiful Lie,” and the agitated “Universal Limits.” With its Alice in Chains-informed choruses, “Line By Line” champions music as a therapy for overcoming emotional pain. Small Town Titans show their softer side twice on the disc, with a decided Temple of the Dog flavor on the acoustic-geared “9 to 5,” and the weighty blues of “Sittin’ Alone” with its message of living for today. Phil Freeman’s freewheeling vocal performance is front and center on the album, as he varies his attack between high-ranging vocal howls, fast-firing Serj Tankian-styled tirades, and sullen, withdrawn moans. He and the remaining Titans render charged arrangements that erupt into action, anchored by a booming rhythmic presence. Produced and engineered by Jason Rubal at Seventh Wave Studio, From Fight to Flight sounds vibrant, explosive and full. Each song provides its own distinctive twist, while the mix and the band’s presentation maintain a consistency throughout. Small Town Titans deliver an engaging set with From Fight to Flight, and their balance of melody and storminess should win attention and propel them forward. (The CD can be obtained through the group’s website, www.smalltowntitans.com.)