Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable growth in new UK bands reverting back to a more classic rock sound that emanated from bands back in the 1970s and 1980s. Interestingly, this trend has not currently arisen in the United States. However, that could be about to change. Adam And The Metal Hawks (AMH) are waving the banner for classic US rock.
Adam And The Metal Hawks – Hurry Up And Wait
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Adrian Stonley
Interestingly, like Adam Lambert, frontman Adam Ezegelian also came through the American Idol route performing in 2015. Though not the competition winner, he won over many future fans with his distinct voice and approach to classic rock.
Adam joined the fledgling Metal Hawks band in early 2019. They then set to work to release their first self-titled album of their own material. Released in 2020, this became a viral social media sensation in 2021, just as Covid-19 hit.
Subsequently, it has taken a couple of years of hard work, graft and sweat for the band to produce their second album. Hurry Up And Wait has arrived, with the band touring the UK on the bill with Punk Rock Factory.
The two big questions are, of course, ‘Is it as good as the first release?’ and secondly, ‘Has it been worth the wait?’. The answer to both questions remains a quite resounding yes.
Though not the longest album, clocking in at just 35 minutes, it comprises ten quite variable but distinctive hard-driving rock and blues songs, yet clearly provides quality over quantity. So, what does it sound like, and what can we expect?
Well, firstly, this is a band who have made no pretences about their influences. They clearly wear those influences on their sleeves. They have taken the best bits of the likes of Van Halen, Aerosmith, Gun N’ Roses and Twisted Sister and created an interesting take on this combination. However, all the time, they ensure that they have put their own creative stamp on the songs. They do not come over as a ‘wannabe band’, but actually artists with a point to prove and the musical means in which to communicate that point.
Seriously good rock album
That said, we need to recognise that Hurry Up And Wait is a seriously good rock album. This album will not preach at you. That does not stop the band from hurling a number of differently contexed party tunes at you.
To quote Poison (or perhaps Kenny Loggins previously), this ‘ain’t nothing but a good time,’ and you cannot step away from this album without a smile on your face. That said, perhaps I’m being unsubtle, as there are also a couple of fine blues-based numbers contained within this package, which clearly outline the breadth and width of this band’s technical abilities.
The album opens with Tiptoe. This has a catchy hooky lead intro accompanied by Adam’s trademark yell before the guitars kick in. The tune leads into Rock’ n’ Roll heaven, with just the right kick-ass attitude and sass displayed. This tune has a seriously dirty groove to it.
What allows the Metal Hawks to stand out is Adam’s ability to vary his voice and tone to follow the lines of the song. Certainly, in this tune, soundwise, he could so easily be Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler crossed with Faith No More’s Mike Patton. Vocally, the sound can build from a sultry, bluesy groove through to a rapid clipped staccato delivery.
‘Let rip his inner Slash’
From the opening sirens of Underground and the hard-driving drums, the tune opens up with a catchy riff and follows in a similar musical vein to Tiptoe. As the guitars build up and drive through the tune, it enables lead guitarist Johnny Barry the opportunity to really open up and let rip his inner Slash.
Backwards is up next and follows the same feel and theme, although chorus-wise, it almost has a Tush feel before developing into a serious sing-along tune. These opening three numbers really lay down the feel and set the standard for the rest of the album. These tunes also clearly have the depth and ability to expand in the live environment and are real crowd-pleasers.
Mr Jimmy is the first of the slower blues numbers and has a Bad Company vibe to it. It certainly shows the textural variances in Adam’s vocals. Slow as it starts, it begins to gently build up and allows Johnny to show his other, more textured and sultry side of his guitar playing. The solos are more mellowing but tunefully built up as the song develops.
Party Time is a rollback and could easily have been written by Andrew WK. It allows Adam to fully stretch his vocal cords and show the full range and vocal ability that he can unleash when he really gets rolling.
Feel The Songs
What is important to note is this is a band who have the ability to really feel the songs. They are carefully and thoughtfully crafted throughout. They know exactly what feel they want from the tunes, and when riffing or soloing, the guitar parts perfectly fit together.
For example, the solos are carefully displayed, not shredding for the sake of it. They are carefully aligned with the musical integrity of the song. Don’t use a dozen notes when two or three will suffice.
B-Side Blues comes over as a short interlude acoustic blues number complete with harmonica and may perhaps be the only filler on the album in its current form, clocking in at just over a minute. This has the potential to be developed into a fine slice of blues and let the band show the wider side of their musicianship.
But perhaps the album doesn’t need two deep blues numbers. That said, it acts as the perfect foil to Fine Line, which follows and is another driving song complete with a catchy riff and chorus.
Rage has a serious Aerosmith vibe, complete with hooky blues rock guitar riffs and a catchy sing-along chorus line. This provides a serious slice of down-home boogie rock ‘n’ roll with the band firing the tempo up to ten.
Changing the tone, 3000 Miles is an upbeat acoustic-driven ballad. It provides the band the opportunity to show a more thoughtful songwriting ability, with the soulful side of Adam’s voice complementing the acoustic guitar.
The album finishes with I’m Done. It’s a relationship break-up song. The start has a similar feel to Mr Jimmy with a slow blues before exploding as drummer Griffin McCarthy’s pedals kick in, and we’re off on one helluva guitar-driven ride. It ends with the bass and drums to the fore as the song gets faster and faster. In the live environment, the band can undoubtedly stretch this song, highlighting their musical prowess.
Though there is plenty to be said regarding Adam’s vocals, this album isn’t just about one man and his backing group. The Metal Hawks are a head’s down, finely tuned rock ‘n’ roll machine. Each part is as important to the overall sound as any other.
Quite simply, they are a damn fine rock ‘n’ roll band. They should be proud to fly the flag for modern classic US rock.