There are very rare moments in Christian rock where some of today's musicians tip their hats to some of the best rock n' roll bands of all time. Originally based in Houston, Texas, the group Main Line Riders made quite an impression with their classic hard rock debut called Shot In The Dark, released in 2007 under Retroactive Records. While the album was not a superb rock release by any means, Shot In The Dark offered a unique mix of classic rock influences from AC/DC, Guns N' Roses as well as some punk rock overtones featured throughout. After relocating to Wilmington, Delaware and going through numerous lineup changes, original guitarist Cliff Powell, also known as "Cliffy," decided to move forward with a new lineup and a new direction. After two years of waiting, Main Line Riders have returned with Worldshaker.
Listening to the album for the first time will definitely have rock fans comparing the group to AC/DC, but there are a few changes fans will notice on this release. While Shot In The Dark may have been 1980s heavy metal mixed with early 90s punk rock consisting of 2 and a half to 3 minute songs, Worldshaker is a pure, straightforward classic rock n' roll album that never lets up from start to finish. Perhaps the most notable change when compared to Shot In The Dark is the vocal delivery. Original vocalist Mikey Mayhem brought an interesting approach to singing similar to the Ramones mixed with Axl Rose from Guns N' Roses. However, newcomer Shawn Edward Browning offers a vocal delivery similar to Bon Scott and Brian Johnson from AC/DC with possibly a little Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. His voice can be a little irritating on a few tracks and might take some time getting use to, but Shawn does not take away the energy and passion featured on this album. Cliffy and Matthew Kenenske are both very sensational guitarists who offer a wonderful performance that will have listeners hitting the rewind button on several tracks.
Songs like "Hell Ain't A Good Place To Be" are not deeply poetic or preachy by any means, but the entire album was written in the language of rock n' roll and it's clever how the band speaks about choosing the right path in life, "You don't care if you die, Ya say the truth is a lie, it's your life so do whatcha please, But any road ya choose is gonna drive ya to your knees." The song "Through With You" deals with the struggle of sin and a man choosing to no longer fall into the temptations of the devil, "Why do I do what I don't wanna do, I just wanna be through with you…Don't come round here no more, I ain't buyin' what ya sold me before, Let me show ya to the door." Re-worked versions of "Throwin' Bones To The Wolves" and "We Are The Ready Ones" make an appearance on this release and they add a nice touch. It is interesting to read the "thank you" notes where the band states, "All praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ…the real Worldshaker."
This album is quickly becoming one of the best hard rock albums worth waiting for this year. Shawn's voice might take some time for listeners to enjoy and the lyrics will require a lot of work on future releases. However, Main Line Riders has brought something that is very unique to Christian music. They are not your typical run-of-the-mill rock band. Main Line Riders performs music for those who love classic rock and 1980s heavy metal. This band is definitely worth looking into if you enjoy AC/DC, X-Sinner, Stryper, and Thieves & Liars.- Review date: 9/6/09, written by Fred Keel of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Retroactive Records
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