When asked recently if grunge would ever make a comeback, Dave Grohl responded, “If you mean loud ass guitars, loud ass drums, and screaming ass vocals? That never went away”. Root seem like a pretty good example to hold up in support of this statement. Their EP ‘Incandescent’ is a raw, fiery record, fuelled by a punk energy while still retaining a substantial metal heaviness.
Right from the opening track Superficial Wound (A Neckwear Item) lead singer Marc Caldwell lays out the bands grunge influences by pushing his vocal chords to the point of near agony as he screams out the chorus in a way that recalls Layne Staley, Eddie Vedder or Kurt Cobain. The song rockets past in an incandescent blur with scarcely a pause for breath.
The succeeding tracks see that band venture into more of a conventional heavy metal sound. The tracks Mr Passive and Incandescent settle into a far more obvious rock template, and see Root failing to push the intensity of their sound as far as they do in the opening track.
Perhaps this break down is even intentional, as the intensity returns with full force on the EP’s closing number Tremble. Another grunge-tinged rocker, Tremble is also more melodic and sees Caldwell dive fully into the vocal embodiment of emotional turmoil. It builds up to a visceral finale, and the EP fades out to the sound of a lingering, drawn out scream cutting through the final wailing chords.
The primary strength of ‘Incandescent’ is that fact that it is bookended by two really compelling tracks. And while the strength of the opening and closing songs overshadow the rest of the EP somewhat, anybody looking for the present day incarnation of “loud ass guitars, loud ass drums, and screaming ass vocals” aren’t likely to be disappointed by Root’s debut effort.