lisa pikaard might be a giant …
The path to the release of Adema’s Topple the Giants is, in a way, a highly accurate portrayal of the history of the band itself. This is the album that excited many in 2011 when it was announced, and anticipation built until the slated release date in early 2012. Then the disappointment for the fans began; Adema announced that the EP was going to be delayed slightly. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it. The crushing blow to fans came when it was announced that Topple the Giants was being put on hold indefinitely.
The wavering and changing of the release dates, the build up of excitement and the bitter disappointment is something that Adema fans have come to expect. Mark Chavez and Mike Ransom were both original members who left, returned to the band, then left again. This vacillation and confusion seems to be echoed in the pathway to the release of Topple the Giant. There was so much excitement swirling around the return of the original lineup that was bitterly destroyed not long after the reunion. This story, unlike the original lineup story, will finally have its happy ending. April 2, 2013 the EP will finally be released.
Topple the Giants is an interesting compilation of old songs remade with the new lineup and new music. The vocals have been assumed by founding guitarist, Tim Fluckey; since he has been performing that role for years now, he sounds right on point. This album appears to be an attempt by Adema to prove its worth without the dramatic antics or vocals of again off again lead singer, Chavez. Perhaps the band is using the remakes as a way to make a statement. Any way you look at it, an attempt to remake a well-known song is dangerous and bold. Fortunately, the new versions sound on point and do not miss a step. While they are certainly not great advancements on the original works, they sound good. The EP includes rerecorded versions of “Planets,” “Immortal,” “Stable,” and “Giving In.”
The question remains: is the new EP worth all of the hype and anticipation that has built through the controversy and the five and a half year wait period since the band’s last album? I don’t know. The three new tracks, “Resolution,” “Topple the Giants,” and “Lions” are okay. There doesn’t seem to be a big wow factor for me in those three tracks but they’re good. “Topple the Giants” is actually my least favorite song on the album even though it is the title track. It feels strained to me. “Resolution” has that rough and dirty sound but seems to flow a lot more naturally. “Lions,” on the other hand, doesn’t have the same edge as the rest of the new tracks on the album but that’s a good thing.
The sound is softer; the vocals aren’t so gruff and it’s a nice taste of something different on the album. It evolves the mellow vibe of “Giving In” and “Planets” into something new but not unfamiliar. Overall, Adema seems to be successfully holding on to the core that made them a success in the past but is slowly growing and evolving as well. Progress without running away from what has worked in the past is precisely what the band is doing and it is working. Topple the Giants is a quality album but it’s not phenomenal. For Adema fans, this may not be the groundbreaking record you were looking for but it is certainly something familiar and comfortable.