I try not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to jump to conclusions at times, especially when it comes to a band’s discography. It is after all, the art that is supposed to convey the musical contents of an album.
With all that being said, when I received Rumsfield’s album Terrible Times in the mail to review, I prepared for the worst. The cover is a bit cheesy, sort of a smiley face drawn with what looks like blood, so I immediately thought of creepy carnival clowns or maybe a kindergarten finger painting. I also found myself a bit judgmental over the name. I mean, what self-respecting hard rock/metal band calls themselves Rumsfield?
What I found after throwing the disc in the Hi-Fi was that yes, I shouldn’t jump to conclusions and the “worst” that I prepared for wasn’t all that bad. Rumsfield called their music “rock meets metal” in their press release but I really didn’t hear any metal. It was more of a radio rock, but well written and arranged nonetheless.
Dean Scott’s vocals were strong and consistent and the music is driving and hard-hitting. The press release also stated that the band worked hard in Chalet Studios to capture their live sound and this definitely shines through. One of the first things I thought while listening to this was “Like it or not, I bet these guys throw down live” and that says a lot about a band and their album. I give them much respect for this.
For an independent band from Ontario, Canada, Rumsfield is really paving the way for themselves here in the states. Their music is being played on college and mainstream radio throughout the U.S. and Canada. Their video for “Blister” was aired on MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball, which is unheard of from an indie band. I got a chance to check out the video and it’s rather dull and unimaginative, but professional looking, which is probably why MTV2 picked it up.
Overall the band and their sophomore release Terrible Times is worth a listen. If you’re looking for a true metal band, these guys won’t be heavy enough, but if you like more of a hard rock style with good melodies and arrangement, you just may find a new favorite.