Spider Rockets

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COUNTRY: USA

STYLE: Glam Metal/Hard Rock

PROFILE: Striking a balance between ’80s glam and the crunchier riffs of ’90s hard rock is not only an uneasy task, but most bands frankly suck at it entirely. New Jersey’s Spider Rockets avoid most of the crossover pitfalls by primarily sticking to sleaze touchstones, merely using the simplistic chords and loud guitars of ’90s rock to underline their glam roots.
Actually, Bitten isn’t really even so much an ’80s/’90s hybrid as it is reminiscent of those early-to-mid-’90s albums that ’80s glam bands would put out in an attempt to modernize their sound. Most of those cases were failed, misguided attempts to hang on to a fan base that was bailing on them in droves for the greener pastures of punk and grunge (think such notorious disasters such as Def Leppard’s Slang and L.A. Guns’ American Hardcore). The upside to this being 2012 is that punk and grunge are no longer the cash in opportunities they were 15-20 years ago, and God knows selling glam won’t get you rich anymore, so anyone currently plying these styles in a purely melodic sense are doing so in all earnestness.
Sincerity is in fact written large across the ten tracks on Bitten — well, nine of them at least, as there’s also a completely obligatory cover of Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” which adds absolutely nothing to either the original song nor this album as a whole. None of the songs are truly stellar, but each has its own identity — its own blend of crunch and finesse — and aside from that “Twilight Zone” cover there’s really not a bad tune in the bunch.

Loud rock has always been at the core of the group. Lead singer, Helena Cos, and guitarist, Johnny Nap, started as a duo playing every dive bar in New Jersey and New York City. In between cranking out crowd favorites from AC/DC, Judas Priest, Guns n’ Roses and Metallica, the two would test the waters by infusing some of their original material. This was a unique setup as the two had an electronic rhythm section and pumped out loud rock, something unheard of in the genre.

The duo soon expanded to a full lineup and began working with Brooklyn-based indie producer, Martin Bisi, best known for recording iconic albums by Sonic Youth, John Zorn, Herbie Hancock (including the Grammy-winning “Rockit”), Helmet and White Zombie. Still in their infancy, the group managed to release their first effort, “Flipped Off,” which officially marked the end of the electronic rock duo format.

An EP entitled “Preview” followed, but the group began to hone in on their sound with the release of “Ever After” which was picked up for North American and European distribution by Locomotive Records. Some experience began to pay off as “Ever After” yielded top adds on CMJ and FMQB radio charts.

The group produced their next release, the self-titled “Spider Rockets,” closer to home at Trax East in their native New Jersey. With Eric Rachel manning the boards (Atreyu, Black Dahlia Murder, Hatebreed, Misfits, Patti Smith Group, etc.), the group issued a more musically progressive offering. By now, the group had began touring on a national scale and supporting the likes of Pop Evil, Framing Hanley, ran a leg on Van’s Warped Tour and scored a slot at Berlin’s Popkomm Festival.

Now, savvy at the art of song-crafting, Spider Rockets re-entered the studio to record the upcoming, “Bitten,” produced once again by Eric Rachel in New Jersey and with co-production credits going to Ryan Sambrook and mixing by Zach Ziskin in South Florida. From both a compositional and performance standpoint, “Bitten” is the group’s strongest work to date. Long before completion of the record, an early rendition of one stand-out track,“Scream,” garnered over 35,000 hits on YouTube without any promotional efforts and no official release.

Spider Rockets is aiming to up the ante with the release of “Bitten” on June 5th, 2012.

Ultimately Spider Rockets will appeal to the nostalgia crowd — for better or worse. Sounding often like a female-fronted version of late period glam/AOR entries such as Jackyl, Ugly Kid Joe or Saigon Kick, the band should be commended for playing it straight and not just playing up the sex kitten image. But the vast majority of their potential fanbase is going to be those who feel that the hair band era peaked around 1992… which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most retro bands these days are shooting for more of a 1984 or 1987 era sound, so Spider Rockets are in truth cultivating a relatively untapped market.

ALBUMS
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               Lift Off [1996]             Flipped Off [2000]        Ever After [2007]       Spider Rockets [2009]

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Bitten [2012]

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