The New Breed - Bound By The Thread 2004 Indy Release --EC
1. Illusions Of Power 2. This One 3. Come On 4. Can't Save The World 5. Freedom 6. Here I Come 7. Drown 8. Long Way Down 9. Feed The Machine
I was very fortunate to stumble on the sounds of Johnny Lokke in 2003. "Wrecking Ball" was one of my favorite albums of that year and stayed in my rotation for what seemed like an eternity. His talent and ability to play straight forward heavy metal from the heart is truly something special. Beyond the music lies a real American, a classy guy who deserves a lot of respect and admiration in this industry. I got the chance to talk with Johnny several times through email and got to know a little bit more about him over the last couple of years. I would be hard pressed to name a more sincere, honest individual in this industry than Johnny Lokke.
In early 2004 Johnny Lokke's drummer had an unfortunate accident and broke his hip. Scot is a full time drummer and with his hip injury his playing had to be put on the shelf until he made a full recovery. Scot is a music teacher with a family, and now with his accident he has gone through surgery and a stack of medical bills thus far. No real time frame has been set for Scott to make a recovery. For now he just hopes for the best and prays that he will make a full recovery. When Johnny learned of Scot's injury and the financial and medical complications he was running into, he decided to do a "benefit" album for his drummer. He decided to do a side project, something a little different from his Johnny Locke albums. Johnny invited some friends and artists to jump on board for the cause and was amazed by the turnout. He decided on the name The New Breed after hearing the idea from a German journalist, and picked the album title "Bound By The Thread" from the simple idea of people bound by a common goal and doing things out of their heart instead of their pockets. The end result is really an enjoyable album from start to finish, one that will surely please Johnny Lokke fans while at the same time bringing to light a close-knit metal community that rallies together for a fallen brother.
Johnny Lokke has a whole host of excellent musicians helping out with this album. Former Primal Fear guitarist Stefan Leibing steps in to do a melodic guitar solo on "Illusions Of Power, Chris Watson from the NWOBHM band Black Rose stops by to lay down a solo on "This One", and Guitar World writer Mike Campese lays down a solo on "Feed The Machine". Even former Judas Priest vocalist Al Atkins makes a rare appearance, throwing in some guest vocals on "Drown". The New Breed is made up of Johnny Lokke on guitars and vocals, Lon Weaver on guitars, Jeff Gragg on bass, and Dad Dreher on drums. The entire album is really interesting to me simply because it is in the same vein as the Johnny Lokke albums, but somehow stays just outside of those lines. Here is the play by play...
Opener "Illusions Of Power" may be a little heavier than the Lokke material, with a thick groove to shake a mountain and plenty of melody and vocal harmony. Leibing's guitar solo here is simply breathtaking. I can't wait for Stefan to hit the studio with the reformed Thunderhead group. Lokke hits his signature highs on "This One", an inspirational song about overcoming adversity. "Come On" is another fast cut in the style of the opener with a heavier approach on the guitars. "Can't Save The World" follows with a mid-pace stomper that tends to lean towards blue collar hard rock. "Freedom" is the next installment, a blazing scorcher with a catchy hook throughout. Lokke uses another hard rock style chorus here with some high falsetto thrown in. "Freedom" sounds a bit like "Youthanasia" era Megadeth to my ears. "Here I Come" is simply crushing in every sense of the word. The cut borrows from Tim Owens era Judas Priest, with some modern tendencies and an unbelievable chorus. This guy is just amazing folks. Back to business on "Drown" with a simplistic approach at early heavy metal in the vein of Saxon and Priest. "Long Way Down" follows in melodic fashion. I love the slow gallop feel here, with an addictive razzle-dazzle guitar hook. The chorus is back to the hard rock school with a rip-roaring mid-section. Closer "Feed The Machine" is the ballad of the album, a well penned track about just taking it easy and enjoying each day. This one is a great sunset song, a great track for those evening drives back home.
"Bound By The Thread" is a solid effort and one that just leaves me with my mouth open. I enjoy everything Johnny Lokke does and this is just more of the same. The guy can do no wrong to my ears. It is really hard for someone to drift away from their primary band to record something that is still very much in the realm of their regular routine. Most of the time a "side project" will explore other musical genres and avenues. Thankfully Lokke stays with his passion and records some extraordinary traditional metal that mixes in some blues, new wave, and hard rock into a fine metal brew. This is really a great cause and a great achievement. 100% of the profits from "Bound By The Thread" go into a fund to help Scot and his family overcome his injury and get back behind the kit.
Scot, God Bless You and we wish you a speedy recovery!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details