Acid Tiger - Acid Tiger (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Acid Tiger

Acid Tiger (2010)


I thought Ben Koller was can't-miss. Now he's wouldn't-miss. The last decade he drummed for Converge, helping the band evolve into one of the most critically acclaimed and widely acknowledged bands of its kind. The two songs he recorded with Cave In for their limited cassingle in 2005? They fucking rip. United Nations? Same. Hell, his side project here, Acid Tiger also involves his bandmate guitarist from United Nations, Lukas Previn. And Kurt Ballou produced their first full-length. So it's bound to be awesome, right? Despite this wonderful pedigree and surefire recipe for success, what results is some sort of confusing and occasionally cringe-worthy send-up of '70s hard rock with some oddly mixed-in tinges of noisy hardcore chaos. Like if Racebannon covered the soundtrack of the first Guitar Hero edition for shits and giggles...on expert.

I mean, Acid Tiger, the record, can be aggressive in a blisteringly stomping, caustic sense of the psychedelic classic rock tempo. Take opener "The Claw." It slams through at a rapid, snarling pace, with upper-register, cackling vocals, but despite its energetic push it exudes no real mood to attach to. Is it serious? Sort of. Is it angry? Not really? In any event, it bears no real effect on the listener. Grooving, southern riffs only kill the song's momentum and add a cheesy vibe.

There are complete moments of spazzing in "Like Thunder" that seem to reference Koller and Previn's outside project and otherwise '90s hardcore influences, but met with those wild, yelped vocals, it just comes off like a mess. Like something on Daughters' Hell Songs. Maybe that's a pretty good point of reference at times, but especially for "Like Thunder."

There's some wild shredding and unnecessarily extended, live-style drum soloing in "Big Beat"; I'd say the band get a little indulgent here on the 6:26-long track, but the very next song, "Death Wave," goes the distance of 9:17. Despite an interesting opening of reverberating riffing and creaking instruments, the mid-tempo groove is a bit forced; it certainly gets to be more a chore and less a wonder at the sight (sound, here) of their talents to heavily jam out as the track goes on and wankiness, tongue-in-cheek or not, prevails, along with some lyrics referencing the debilatating effects of global warming (referenced to enhance cheesy epicness).

Even with 11 minutes and two tracks of incessant noodling and phasing to go on Acid Tiger's self-titled debut, its listener will have been thoroughly exhausted. Or rocked. But probably just tired and annoyed. There's a great deal of promise Acid Tiger's members bear, but this is just not the fruition of it. Except for maybe Ballou--shit sounds good, at least.

Dark Hands
Like Thunder