CUSTOM’s “V” literally soars into the sky with a fury that is unparalleled in rock today. The sheer giganticness of the sound feels liberating. While listening to this I had my breath taken away with the pure adrenaline and gusto they bring in ample amounts. Everything about it, from the pounding drums to the intense guitar riffs, even the oft-ignored bass has a powerful presence here. So much power flows through their whole sound, it is a pure joy to see a group taking on the classic rock sound and bringing the volume past nine, past ten, to a mighty twelve. By far though the truly core of the album rests with the animalistic vocals, which are shouted with a feral sense of glee.
Straight out of the good city of Seattle, they add to its grand history. The sheer expanse of sound, the geography used, brings to mind the giant buzzing sound of Earth, though sped up quite considerably. On the hard rock side of things, they take from the tried-and-true style of early Guns N’Roses, with elements of “In The Jungle” in full swing throughout. In terms of more recent groups, few are really exploring this sound with the same level of devotion as CUSTOM, which, as I write that, feels like a damned shame, for this is the sound I really consider pure uncut rock.
The rhythm starts up with a hyperactivity on the intense opener “King Alice”. Here they have a stately presence to the work, featuring the guitars sprawling out into the seemingly infinite. Even louder and more physical in force, “Snake In The Grass” pushes the storyline further ahead. Cleverly they imbue the lyricism with a narrative that helps to make the experience more all-consuming. Motorcycle noises add to the hyperactive driving pulse of “Open Road”. Finally offering a bit of a breather “Game On” trades in a limber funky sound, with the bass prominently mixed up towards the center. On “Finis Omnium” the song features a reflective presence to it. Lyrics explore adding to the intense gaze of the track.
An infinitely catchy hook anchors “Ten Years Gone”. Here there is an abstract form of storytelling with a pure feeling of poetry. Space rock elements enter into the equation with the weightless sound of “I Sit Alone” with the choral performance adding to the sense of unease. Pure optimism takes hold on the thrilling ride of “Do It Again” by far the highlight of the album. With a playfulness that recalls Van Halen’s best work, there is a sense of reassurance that radiates from the message. Humor ties together “He Should Be Dead”. Lovely in scope the album ends with the classically inclined “Finis Omnium (Reprise)”.
Defiant to their very core, CUSTOM sidesteps trendiness for a truly classic, timeless sound on the brute force of “V”.