Bag of Nickels: “Amen” – This album is brilliant. Yes, it’s that simple!

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Born out of Wilmington, Delaware, the members of Bag of Nickels have played together since 1995, taking several breaks along the way to pursue side and solo projects and to decompress from the grind of playing shows, working 9-5s, and inner turmoil. Their two previous self-released albums were, “Soul Change” and “Mantequilla”.  The band sees their newly released 3rd album, “Amen” as “a culmination of many years of success; failure; personal strife; and ultimately victory.” The album was produced by Dennis Prado and co-produced and mixed with Philadelphia-based, Grammy-award winning engineer, Mike Tarsia.

Bag of Nickels
Bag of Nickels

Spun through a kaleidoscope of tightly wound riffs, hypnotic vocals, booming beats, “Amen” announces the next chapter for these alternative rock torchbearers. This album is one of the most unique I have ever listened to this year. With its powerful, rock-drenched atmosphere and trippy, psychedelic arrangements, “Amen” truly is a cool experience. For the attentive rock listener this album is as intoxicating as a fine wine on a hot summer’s night.

This album is brilliant. Yes, it’s that simple. And it’s that way right from the moment “Hold Your From” kicks in. The album shows a diverse range of rock styles and performance levels throughout. I’d also go as far to say that the feel of this album is quite surreal. There’s twists and turns and up and downs that will always surprise with each listen. It’s like a tripped out roller-coaster ride that you’ll rarely tire of. As creative as Jane’s Addiction and as hard-hitting as the Foo Fighters, Bag of Nickels takes their influences from these bands, but they are in no way trying to recreate them in any way.

The album cover
The album cover

Bag of Nickels produces music that truly is an assault on the senses, from the searing guitar lines to the stop-start dynamics on numerous songs, coupled with the melodically-influenced time signatures and extremely raw vocals. It is not a release that panders to the stereotypically moronic rock fan; Bag of Nickels are unquestionably purveyors of intelligent, thoughtful sentiments shrouded in some of the highest quality songwriting I have ever heard the genre produce. These qualities are most evident on tracks like “Impurities”, “The Set Up”, “Amen” and “Refrain”.

Bag of Nickels combine a riffing style with absolutely monster grooves and a vast combination of musical influences filtered through a seemingly minimalist approach. All of this is done with no use of samples, rapping or tortured soul gimmicks. Bag of Nickels are strictly about the music.

This was the sound of mainstream rock before it tucked it’s manhood between its legs, eons ago, and became Breaking Benjamin! The lead vocals soar just about everywhere, the distinctive guitars bring on the fire and grind, while the monstrous bass-lines are superbly supported by timely, pounding drums. The more effort you put into listening to this album, the more you get out of it. “Amen” is an ambitious, original record, from a musical unit comprising Eric Belanger, Robert Albrand, Mike D’lppolito, Dennis Prado and Gaime Prado, whose impact should not, indeed cannot, be ignored!

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