The follow up to 2011’s immense ‘Damage’ has been a somewhat arduous labour of love for guitarist and band leader Justin McCain. After recording their major label debut vocalist Patrick Wilson suffered Larynx damage and McCain was forced to bring in several vocalists to cover concert commitments. These included Grant Kendrick from fellow Omaha band The Wreckage and Bryan Scott of Dev Electric. Wilson returned briefly before citing personal problems as his reasons for permanently leaving the band and the bassist and rhythm guitarist followed him out of the door shortly afterwards. Wilson is now singing for Omaha outfit Arson City. McCain now finds himself as the only remaining original band member.
Undeterred by these setbacks McCain managed to earn Emphatic another record deal as well as bringing in ex Fuel/Apocalyptica vocalist Toryn Green. This has proved to be something of a masterstroke on ‘Another Life’ as Green fits seamlessly into the band and has never sounded better.
Followers of the previous album will still find plenty to enthuse about on ‘Another Life’ and from the opening chords of ‘Life After Anger’ through to album closer and uptempo first single ‘Remember Me’ it’s clear that this is Emphatic and not a simply a mend and make do version.
Rather than being the weak link Green proves to be the main strength of the album, sounding remarkably like Patrick Wilson in places yet adding his own distinctive personality. McCain has cleverly co-written songs with a host of people; Tommy Henrikson (Warlock/Alice Cooper) Sahaj Ticotin (Ra) and Green himself to fine tune an album that allies a chunky modern guitar signature to made-for radio choruses and hooks aplenty. The title track, ‘Forbidden You’ and the eighties influenced ‘Take Your Place’ follow the formula with class and panache whilst ‘Louder Than Love’ is easily on par with ‘Tonight’ from ‘Damage’.
Recorded in L.A and produced expertly by Ryan Greene and McCain not only is ‘Another Life’ a triumph in the face of adversity it represents one of the finest modern rock albums in recent years.