Band: Chest Rockwell

CD Title: “Total Victory”

Band Website:  

Label: Independent Release

Release Date: 2009


Last time around I labeled Chest Rockwell an Alt.Prog band, and after listening to their new release entitled Total Victory I’m going to stick with that. Like last time listening to these 9 tracks, there really is no hint of retro to the music created here. And yet by anyone’s definition this is clearly a progressive rock disc. Hailing out of Bowling Green Kentucky, the quartet remains Josh Hines (vocals, guitars, bass, electric Sitar, keyboard), Nick Rouse (drums, percussion, piano), Nick Stewart (bass, baritone guitar, keyboard), and Seth Wilson (guitar). This time around they also have some keyboard help from Jon Craig. One of the few changes from the previous outing is that keyboards do seem to be somewhat more prominent, not much more, they still provide mainly accents, but one gets the feeling they are somewhat more present in the mix.


Total Victory consists of 9 tracks most of which clock in around three-five minutes. Two of the others are around seven-minutes although in all fairness there are three tracks entitled “Body Prop” linked together that work out to just over 14-minutes. But even in the shorter tracks it’s what Chest Rockwell do within those precious moments. What struck me most this time around is the clean sound of the electric guitar. There are many moments throughout the disc where the guitars lead line isn’t fuzzed or distorted to any degree. At the same time with two guitarists one of them is bound to get crunchy at certain points. But that clean-sound laid over top of synth effects as in “Body Prop 2” [3:54] gives some of the songs a spacious airy-ness. Now before you think I’ve gone soft, like any Alt. Prog band in good standing Chest Rockwell bring a real intensity, even aggression to other parts of these compositions. And that’s the key, even in the shorter songs, they move through highly contrasting musical styles. Getting back to that two-guitar thing, what this also provides for is some interesting interplay between the guitars both in terms of styles and sounds. The band still retains their penchant for using sound effects; sometimes its there to connect the tracks or in fact like “Within 10 Paces I Cannot Fail” [3:15] it’s all voice tracks of various American Presidents talking about war. These are tracks that can easily slide from sparse solo instrumentation to intense full-on aggression and then just as easily pull back to something softer and atmospheric. Chest Rockwell certainly know how to inject musical dynamics and gymnastics into their music and they do it well.


Chest Rockwell continues to progress musically and compositionally. The performances sound better, tighter and more assured. If you thought their last release was good wait to till you hear Total Victory.