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"tetanus review"

Posted: September 1st, 2008

Purchase @ Amazon.com
Release Date: March 11, 2008 via Skiddco Music
Tetanus is:
Scott Hardin (Vocals / Guitar)
Elliott Ives (Guitar)
Grayson Grant (Bass)
Teddy Thomas (Drums)
Overview: I’ve scoured the web searching for enough background on Tetanus for me to at least bullshit my way through a couple sentences here, but I could only round up 3 facts. Tetanus are a rock band, they are from Memphis, and they’re one of 3 bands currently signed to producer Skidd Mills’ Skiddco Music (alongside Absence of Concern and Saving Abel). Oh, and let’s not forget this Mr. Mills produced self-titled album of theirs that hit iTunes back in March. That’s Tetanus, baby.

The Good: You know what, you don’t even really need a big chunk of pre-emptive 411 on Tetanus anyways, because this ten track attack speaks for itself. Think back to Alice in Chains’ 1995 eponymous CD, and to the bright yellow case that held the three legged dog cover. Now, listen to lead off hitter “Swept Away” and tell me that song didn’t belong on that record. Grungy and sludgy with the first of many glimpses into the adaptability of front-man Scott Hardin’s pipes, “Swept Away” is flannel rock for 2008, done correctly. A threesome between Lynam, Silvertide and Black Stone Cherry would produce the completely throwback sound that screams from “Roll Like Rain”, a dirty little thing whose swingin’, cowbell infused chorus will have you moving in seconds. A slow, sensitive moment of soul searching, “Slow Decline” is buoyed by the deep respirations of its chorus, and given a bad attitude through the epic wizardry of its bridge. Tetanus bolt their Seattle “roots” for “Sinking Ship” and head to New York City, where Page Hamilton’s influence is there to greet them with open arms. Although the taste of Helmet is forfeited during the spacious and galactic choruses, Hamilton’s handy work reappears for the bridge; as odd as it sounds, the bridge of “Sinking Ship” is like Page Hamilton playing over top Jerry Cantrell, sans cacophony to boot. “Make It Look Easy” is a porcelain number that still upholds a layer of riffy sleaze overtop. One of the coolest pseudo-ballads I’ve heard in awhile, “Make It Look Easy” makes up for its lack of firepower with several pattern changes, astute attention to detail, and storybook lyrics. Drummer Teddy Thomas cranks open his hi-hats for the hulky “Blame On You”, a move that sharpens this already imposing blade. I give a lot of credit to “Swallow Me”, simply because the song tastefully succeeds in keeping you uncomfortable, hastily transitioning from hushed verses, to jagged pre’s, and on into the silky choruses without any type of forewarning. Really though, the best part of “Swallow Me” is just how well Hardin’s voice echoes Dave Grohl’s, not once sounding like it was a premeditated idea. Acoustic-driven and bursting with pizzazz, “Wouldn’t You” is folky and worry-free, imbued further through added percussion; it might be acoustic, but “Wouldn’t You” rocks a groove that I haven’t heard many bands of a similar ilk master. For a late-album pick me up, Tetanus smacks us around with the seething and pulsating “Let It Out”, which still carries on that locked-in sounding groove “Wouldn’t You” first exemplified. The jaunt highlights Hardin’s most pugnacious vocal work, as you can hear the gruffness in his voice. After dropping more than a few subtle hints to Down and Corrosion of Conformity throughout the course of nine tracks, I knew that “Shine On You” would bring them all full circle; sure enough, it does. Omnipotent, rousing, and undoubtedly racy, “Shine On You” puts a wrap on one mind-blowing debut album.

The Bad: The only thing holding ‘Tetanus‘ back from being a 10 is a little too much sandbagging in the heart of the record. Perhaps if there were one extra lively grunge-rocker thrown in the mix, then the middle portion of the album wouldn’t be nearly as depleting. This is easy to look past though, because even if one song lets you down, the one right after it or right before it is the safety net there to pick you up and toss you back in the fracas.

Bottomline: ‘Tetanus‘ is a jam, that’s the best way to sum it all up. And I’ll dare to say this-Tetanus is the first band I have heard that really, truly makes the grunge sound of yesteryear come back to life. And if grunge isn’t your bag, that’s no problem, because ‘Tetanus‘ runs a triathlon. They do grunge, they do throwback rock ‘n roll, and they do present day modern rock. It’s hard to fathom that this is Tetanus’ rookie record, because few bands with several albums under their belt would be able to rekindle multiple eras of rock as flawlessly as Tetanus have.

Rating: 9 out of 10 - tunelab


TETANUS LP self-titled



Early 2006, this group of Memphis-bred musicians began writing and self-recording at 747 Studios- a rockhouse co-owned by producer Skidd Mills- where Scott Hardin (guitar, vocals) was employed. After many long nights of hard work by the band, Skidd heard the music and took an interest in the songs. The band subsequently signed on to Skiddco Music in January 2008 and quickly began adding to, tweaking and recording new songs for their debut self-titled release. Since then, while playing regional shows and gaining much industry attention, more songs have been recorded for the upcoming EP due for release in fall 2009. The band brings to the stage a high-energy live show that is not short on antics or intelligence.