Reviving the spirit of vintage anthem rock and skewing it with a decidedly more reverent, intellectually stimulating tonality, The Chris Ruben Band unleash unadulterated sonic fury in “Stomach Coil,” their most recently released single out now everywhere independent music is sold and streamed. We start off in a tizzy of ferocious guitars and drums cascading from the sky and smashing into the ground below us, quaking the earth with the sheer force of their impact. Before long, the bassline is creeping up on us and putting the vocals in an insular chokehold that seems inescapable until we reach the clear air of the chorus. The immense tone doesn’t drown out the narrative of the lyrics, but honestly could stand on its own perfectly fine without the presence of singing. In the twisting and turning of the tempo, we’re never quite sure where the band is going to end up taking us next; the only thing that we can be certain of is that the journey there will be a wild one, free of the predictability that has come to plague modern pop music in recent times.
Every element of this song – from the vocals to the bass, to the underlying synth parts, the guitars and the drumming – is larger than life and rooted in the same loud and proud aesthetic that once gave birth to the gluttony and decadence of heavy metal. However, the key difference here is in the realization of this decadence; where metal bands like to take everything to an extreme, The Chris Ruben Band is happy to amplify the simpler qualities in their fine-tuned compositions and build on the strength of the surreal, postmodern spacey vibe that ensues. There’s a ton of psychedelic influence over a track like “Stomach Coil,” but it doesn’t manifest itself in a bunch of druggy breakdowns and droning, overwhelming bass. I find the arrangement of the instruments to easily be the most mentally-stirring angle of this song, as it unquestionably stacks the deck for the subsequent sonic destruction juxtaposed with stoic ambience that makes the substance of the melody as alluring and pleasing to the ear as it is.
Bursting at the seams with musical brutality that pushes the limits of its style to the very brink without ever losing sight of its groove-laden center, “Stomach Coil” is a more than worthy acquisition for heavy music enthusiasts looking for an inventive yet somewhat familiar sound to become entranced by. There’s no definitive point of climax in The Chris Ruben Band’s new single; the entire affair is essentially one enormous cathartic juggernaut that captures our attention out of the gate and never lets it go for a second. I’ve been keeping a close eye on these guys since their inception, and I must say that their work only continues to get more balanced and mature with each studio session they undertake, and “Stomach Coil” may well be some of their very best material yet. The future is very bright for this crew, and personally I can’t wait to see where they take this fun, provocative sound next.