by Scott Fisher
Six Minute Century’s Wasting Time is probably about the worst CD ever made. The writing sucks. The singing sucks. And the musicianship sucks. Don’t ever buy this CD or the music police will come hunt you down and beat you to a bloody pulp and then make you listen to Justin Bieber songs for the rest of your life.
Okay, now that I got your attention…
The guys in Six Minute have been around the Houston music scene for many-a year and have gained a healthy amount of respect both on stage for their musical abilities as well as off stage for having adoration for those that come to see them perform, some from great distances. From a recent interview I did with them, I can tell you that respect is well-deserved. Now I have the pleasure of reviewing their latest project of which they spoke about in that interview before it was released.
Wasting Time comes to us after what seemed like a very long wait for those faithful to SMC. And, judging from the reviews I read from other sources, along with talking with some of their fans, it was well worth it. The progressive metal genre has never sounded better than when listening to this collection of songs over-flowing with groove and melody. And, as Michael “Dr Froth” Millsap will tell you, if a song doesn’t have both of those attributes, it’s just noise. I couldn’t agree more, Sir Frothiness.
For those that have been living under a rock, please allow me to help you. SMC is made up of Chuck Williams on vocals, Mikey Lewis on drums (yes, the bad ass who also plays with Helstar), Michael “Dr Froth” Millsap on the NS Stick/bass (yeah, Google it), and Don LaFon orchestrating all guitars, keyboards, and sequencing. Each member could easily, and correctly, be considered virtuoistic in their own right. Collectively? Definitely a super group.
Writing lyrics with a certain flair for the political is certainly one of their strong points. Almost each track conveys a passion for the injustices of the past sadly not heard these days from so many bands. And, if you pay close attention, there’s even a history lesson or two in there.
Hot points on this CD include the tracks “City Of Hope,” “Just Remains,” and “Hell’s Gate,” with my absolute favorite being “Needham Point.” As to why, I absolutely love the dueling solos between Froth and LaFon. That’s right, a bass player that can compete with the lead guitarist. You heard me. And for those with a deep-rooted love for Hungarian classical music, you owe it to yourself to check out “Czardas.” Holy crap, just do it.
Now, I always try to be completely fair in my reviews… who wants to read a bunch of fluff where every song on every CD from every review is perfect? So, with some digging, some cold points were found. Sequencing has always been a good thing as far as enabling bands without a keyboardist to completely transform their sound. As long as it’s done tastefully and sparingly, I’m all for it. However, I’ve never liked synthesized piano sounds. “Baptized In Flames” is a good song about the travesty in Waco, Texas with the Branch Davidians, but I have to admit I would’ve liked it better had the piano been recorded rather than sequenced. Also, being the live sound tech snob I tend to be, there’s something with the mastering on the whole CD that just doesn’t “pop” for me. Although very minor, it’s there. As far as exactly why, I couldn’t exactly say. But, hey, I feel it needed to be pointed out.
That being said, very rarely does an album come along with an excess of passionately written songs played with an equal fire that makes the listener like each song enough to say, “I think this one could be a hit!” I mean, c’mon… think about it. When was the last time you REALLY liked all 12 tracks on a CD, cassette, record album, or 8-track? In the immortal words of that dusty old cowboy from the Wolf brand chili commercials, “Well, neighbor, that’s too long.”