In the world of music, time moves fast. Bands come and go within a couple of years, genres grow and then wither, and what’s popular today can be looked upon with disdain by tomorrow. In my short three years in the Dayton area, I have seen a number of bands form and then break up. Things just move fast in this scene, and it’s something one gets used to. It’s impressive when a national act lasts for more than a decade. When a local band can outlast them and still continue to put out gems, you know you have something impressive.
Case in point is the band Laughing Cattle, hailing from Sidney, just a bit north of Dayton. According to their personal biography, these guys have been together since 1994. They started out as a two-piece with Mikey Brown and Jamey Deeter on vocals and guitars, respectively. Since then, they have added drummer Larry Donahue and bassist Scott Hoffman. Over the years, they have released five full-length albums, with the most recent one having been released only two months ago.
Redemption, the newest release from Laughing Cattle, could be summed up in one word: “headbanging”. Most of the album keeps a slow, methodical pace led by a strong rhythm section, to the point where one just can’t help but bang their head along with the beat. Most of the tracks on this album fall into a hard rock/punk style, keeping a similar style throughout the album.
The first track, “The Confrontation”, sets the tone with a few strong chords from the guitar before handing it over to the bass to get things going. The track continues into a low-chord jam, with Brown’s distinctive vocals layered over-top, mid-range and rough. “What Have I Done?” runs a different style from the rest of the album, with an almost punk feel. This track leads directly into the next, “Circles”, which brings the sound back to driving chords with a basic rhythm back up.
The drums get to break out in “Crucified”, with some interesting bass drum work leading a crunchy guitar style in the verses. “This Judgement” picks up the pace a bit again, but still sticks firmly in the rock side of things. Deeter’s first real solo of the album is featured here – nothing too complicated, but standout nonetheless.
The rhythm section takes over in “Bound”, with a strong showing bass-drum-wise from Donahue and all-around from Hoffman. The guitar mostly follows the vocals in this track, complimenting and reinforcing them. “Sanity’s End” features a groovier rhythm and some standout vocals reaching a bit outside of Brown’s typical range on the album.
“Awaken” is the chance for every instrument to shine. As the track builds from beginning to end, each member gets a chance to solo for a few seconds, giving a pure glimpse at the band’s talent. The following track, “Pain Becomes My Friend”, doesn’t really showcase any unique performances, blending into the rest of the album. The final track, though, is definitely one to check out. “Climb The Mountain” opens with a catchy bassline and drum rhythm, building up to some of the best guitar-work and most catchy moments on the album.
Overall, Redemption showcases a specific sound, but it’s a sound that the band creates well. After seventeen years, Laughing Cattle knows its style and how to use it, and Redemption showcases it at their best. Despite a few lulls and some repetition here and there, I would definitely recommend checking out the album in its entirety. Redemption can be found on iTunes, Amazon, and Rhapsody.
-What Have I Done?
-Climb The Mountain