Hailing from the humble, hardworking Pittsburgh, PA, is modern rock outfit Parise, a band composed of friends in music. Spearheaded by guitarist Dan Parise, this project came in to being to showcase the prodigious talents of these musical collaborators. These aren’t any ol’ friends: the band features within it’s ranks, former members from Buckcherry to Too Tall Jones. Combining years of experience writing and performing music, these artists have released a very fine full-length offering, 2012’s Parise1. Since the digital age of music settled in, listeners have been inundated with more ‘twist on average’ music then ever before. To say this is a fresh listen is a massive understatement.
Top shelf musicianship abounds on this disc, without ‘technological enhancement’. The ‘instrumentation’ is the first thing to genuinely appreciate when listening. Parise1 is an amalgamation of diverse influences, from the Foo Fighters, to The Beatles, to Pantera, to Rush, to Oasis, and on. Brilliant and lyrical phrasing, coupled with fluid, passionate playing, ‘stamp’ the overall release. Featuring the vocals of Andrew Shaw, the guitar and bass guitar playing from Parise, and drumming by Matt Muckle, the record boasts a cosmic connection, a whole synergy greater then any one part. Shaw’s stellar vocals boast an incredible range, harmonious delivery, and a subtle emotional edge. Guitar work steals from no-one, and leans the ear towards the Randy Rhoads, Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen, Angus Young school of full-bodied substance mated seamlessly with copious flash. It is a charismatic, guitar-oriented album, and does not leave one wanting, either for high-octane groove or technically complex soloing. Bass guitar stands on it’s own, not acting merely as a low octave to the vocal or guitar part – this touch alone highlights every track. Drums are bombastic, groove-oriented, deep, and ‘rock & roll loud’.
The band has managed to capture ‘all that is good’ from within the genre: live acoustic drums, blistering guitar, top notch vocals, no Autotune, no fluff. Songs run the gamut from heavy metal to acoustic-electric balladry, with lots of hard rock and catchy pop in between. Songs are infectious, strongly melodic, and kinetic, without becoming overly cliche. Overall, the twelve tunes on Parise1 are agile, varied, and exciting. What’s as striking as the many melodic hooks, is the texturing or layering. Each listen will reveal nuances in the tunes: you swore you’d ‘heard it all’ and at next listen, something new will catch your ear, and you’re hooked all over again.
Many songs have an intense, chill-inducing pop appeal. Stand-out tunes include the masculine arena-rock “Into You”, the rhythmically strong, infectious “Dirty Amy” and “Another Girl”, the metal edged, heavy-hitting “Gonna Die”, the anthemic rocker “Like A Satellite”, and the short-and-sweet ballad “Lies Of Pain”. A few tunes feature guest musicians: drummer Dave Zajdel on “Like A Satellite” and “Hit Me Up Tonight”, backing vocals from Monica Ziemski on “Into You” and “Gonna Die”, and bass guitar work from Paul Gilbert’s musical collaborator Freddie Nelson on “Gonna Die”.
Deeply personal lyrical themes cover acrid breakups, love lost, or bitterness, with occasional ecstatic breaks in the clouds. The overall emotional tone remains consistent: blunt, powerful, and risque. Ideas and flow are smooth as silk; there’s nothing jarring about sequencing, production, or composition. A listener doesn’t have to fight really anything here. Basic song structure is simple and effective, without flourish or overplaying. Combine all of this with a crisp, forward production that isn’t over-compressed, and you’ve got yourself one gem of a record. The only real critique would be that some of the familiar lyrical themes are ‘in the here and now’, so they may end up a bit dated in the future, but for now they’re deadly sharp, directed, and effective. It’s a rock record: it’s not out to change the world, and doesn’t have to.
Ever get one of those mind-blowing records that stops you in your tracks? Perhaps one album in ten years will come along with that exceptional gift. Parise1 is accessible, classic rock and roll with a modern flair and more then a hint of heaviness. That this is a debut is as stunning as some of the songwriting: it has the potency of an album much further along in the sequence then ‘debut’, and will prove formidable to ‘top’. It is a genuine and moving effort from skilled, passionate musicians, out to prove nothing more then their existence.
Love Killed The Hate
Lies Of Pain
Fade You Away
(You’re) The Reason Why
I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend
Like a Satellite
Hit Me Up Tonight
Dan Parise – guitar, bass guitar
Andrew Shaw – vocals
Matt Muckle – drums
Freddie Nelson – bass guitar
Dave Zajdel – drums
Monica Ziemski – background vocals