Showbread - Age of Reptiles (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Age of Reptiles (2006)

Tooth & Nail

This ain't your daddy's Showbread. This ain't even your older brother's Showbread. Gone are the screamy outbursts and dynamic riffs that were their staple, and in place is a rock‘n'roll swagger that may as well render them a different band completely.

There's a lot more to Showbread this time around; from the synth-accompanied chorus of "Oh! Emetophobia" to the uncharacteristically reserved nature of "Sing Me to Sleep," there's a lot more tricks in the bag, and a lot more variation to keep the rhythm quickly progressing. There's no dead spots on the record, no instances in which the band didn't maximize on the allotted time of a given song, and that alone bodes well for their brand new sound.

It's always interesting when a band just up and switches genres like this, to see how they're able to adapt to what's essentially a brand new identity. Some wilt under the pressure, and some prosper. Mark Showbread into the latter category, as their radiant confidence is evident from the very first riffs in "Naked Lunch" all the way to the infectious guitar solo right towards the end. Transitioning from a very simple verse-chorus structure into that ripping solo never sounded easier, and that's followed by the synth-driven "Pachycephalosaurus," a song which displays the aforementioned confidence better than any other. The punchy riffs and melodic undercurrents work very well together, and the guitars crackle above it all to create a tight, uniform sound.

It's not just over the course of the album that they're able to transition though, it's in individual songs as well. "George Romero Will Be at Our Wedding" begins a relatively simple punk rock tune, but it slows down for the almost angelic vocals of the band's vocalist, as he delivers lyrics that are equal parts zombie movie and personal tragedy, somehow without managing to have it come off as a cheesy gimmick. Before the words are able to really sink in, the chorus blasts back through with vigor and the simple punk rock riffs end the track abruptly.

What could have gone horribly awry actually turned out fairly well for the band. They were able to switch styles, while still maintaining a good amount of the hardcore feel that made them known in the first place. It'll take some getting used to for those who loved their previous style, but you can rest easily knowing the band has not forgone their talents.