Whether it’s with Extreme, Van Halen, or on his own, one thing about Gary Cherone remains constant – the man can sing! He also seems to always be involved in great musical projects. That’s why when word came out regarding Hurtsmile, Cherone’s latest outing with his brother Markus, expectations were high. Once again Gary Cherone delivered.
One thing is eminent, Hurtsmile is not a hair metal record, but then, Extreme was never really a hair metal band no matter how often they got lumped into the category. Hurtsmile is a class unto itself – a modern rock record that would do well with some radio airplay.
Hurtsmile is an amalgamation of Cherone’s entire career. Elements of Extreme, his days in Van Halen, and his more recent solo projects are all evident in this debut disc. While sometimes biting and fast, and sometimes acoustic and soft, Hurtsmile is certainly one thing – rocking. Led by Markus Cherone’s powerful and striking guitar, Hurtsmile is an enjoyable ride through the valley of hard rock. Markus Cherone’s ability with the guitar rivals that of the other legendary guitarist Gary Cherone has worked with, Nuno Bettencourt. The first solo on lead song Just War Theory shows off Markus’ talent and the realization of his ability just grows from there.
Not to get lost in the advertising of the Cherone brothers are the rhythm section of Joe Pessia on Bass Guitar and Dana Spellman on drums. Their timing is impeccable and Spellman’s ability to keep the beat is something every musician should aspire to. These two are the perfect compliment to the Cherone brothers. The four musicians make some quality music together.
All is not perfect on Hurstsmile however. While most of the album is a solid rockfest, it does come with moments of limitations. A couple of songs (most notably Kaffur and Set Me Free) appear to be more filler than killer and only serve to hurt the album’s overall greatness. However, songs like Jesus Would You Meet Me and Slave more than make up for the shortcomings of those weaker songs. They are just a barely noticeably dip on the road of an otherwise fantastic musical journey.
Hard rocking and filled with gems, Hurtsmile is an album that fans of Gary Cherone are going to enjoy. The guitar work is simply outstanding and Gary Cherone’s voice is still strong and significant. The acoustic jam on Jesus Would You Meet Me alone is worth the price of the record. Hurtsmile delivers more than just one great song though. It comes with several to choose from. If you’ve been craving a hard rock record that will provide multiple listens, then pick up a copy of Hurtsmile. There will be plenty of return on your investment.
- Just War Theory
- Love Thy Neighbor
- Kaffur (Infidel)
- Painter Paint
- Tolerance Song
- Set Me Free
- Jesus Would You Meet Me
- Beyond The Garden – Kicking Against The Goads
- Just War Reprise
- The Murder Of Daniel Faulkner (4699)
Gary Cherone – Vocals
Markus Cherone – Guitars
Joe Pessia – Bass
Dana Spellman – Drums