With a swirling mix of sea sounds, space ships, and a myriad of different settings on one’s sound machine, Maverick starts out their EP “Caught in the Negatives” in a very open sense, inviting all from a cold-winter’s night. The emo-rock of Maverick is a perfect extrapolation of the opening soundscape, “The Annexation”. Heavily influenced by Staind, Tool, and Queens of the Stone Age, the musicianship is beyond intense even if the vocals laid down are fairly stale. Even though the track is fairly short, “An Epic At Sea” seems to tread nearly the same general sound, sounding hackneyed and repetitive at the three minute mark. Even though most of the instruments drop away at the four-minute mark of “An Epic At Sea”, something that was originally bordering on repetitive goes full-blown into anemic. Moving into “A Day At The Fehr”, the same furious guitars and sing-songy vocals of Bryce attempt to push themselves farther into screamo, with the only conceivable victory is the harmony that bubbles up underneath the rapidly increasing tempo of the guitars.
The scales of the guitars during the bridge of “A Day At The Fehr”, along with the plodding drum beats that go along with it, is the evidence that shows that there are some different tricks in this beast. Continuing their moves through different genres would be their “A Basement Calls”, which is reminiscent of Seether and Our Lady Piece, although with guitars bizarrely similar to “Fear of the Dark”-era Iron Maiden. As such, the light, screamed-out of the vocals laid on the track and the hard but antiseptic guitars create two different threads, which are not reconciled during its length. Again, what saves the band from falling into mediocrity is the well-arranged bridge, which brings some much needed catchiness and harmony to the track.
Moving back into their radio-friendly box for “Vulnerable”, Maverick makes a desperate plea for fame in this fairly shallow song, which neither has any of the innovation found on previous tracks during “Caught in the Negatives” nor does it has the typical intensity of Bryce. The minor guitar solo on “Vulenerable”is directly tied to the final track, “Deadly Morphing Beauty”. The number of tempo changes on that track shows a level of musicianship that is unmatched anywhere else on the CD, and really portends good things for Maverick. However, the bulk of tracks on “Caught in the Negatives” are not like “Deadly Morphing Beauty”, but rather are of a type that show proficiency but not innovation.
Top Track: Deadly Morphing Beauty
Maverick – Caught in the Negatives / 2004 Over & Out / 6 Tracks / http://www.maverickrock.com / http://www.overoutrecords.com / Reviewed 04 November 2004