Albany based band Bishop might have been described at times as an alternative metal or hard rock act, as their blatant use of loud, blasphemous guitars suggests, but their upcoming album, Hate Wide Open, set to drop Jan. 6, has more to offer.
From an overall perspective, Hate Wide Open, is an experience in groovy, hard rock mixed with the melodic type of vocals. The instrument section, composed of three brothers – Tom Semeraro on guitar and lead vocals, Rocco Semeraro on drums and backing vocals, and Vincent Padula on bass and backing vocals — who also generate a fairly tight system of vocals based around their lead singers melody. The music is not far from groove – oriented hard rock. Clutch fans will enjoy the riff driven guitars, rather than stand alone chords — the latter of which is all but absent in the album, while Anthrax and Metallica fans will likely enjoy the vocal styles. And finally, Bishop, clearly understand the necessity of deliberation in an album. If nothing else, Hate Wide Open hits its listener in the jaw.
You’ll be able to shout along, bang your head, and nod to the groove in your car.
Unfortunately, the album is far from perfect. Bishop seems to have committed three great sins against their own ministry. One is that the album is repetitive. Guitars repeat the same scale all too much, and follow the same pattern. Songs such as the title track, and Pretty, come off as a rehashing of Clutch’s Blast Tyrant, Anthrax, and at times even Mötley Crüe. And these combinations result in the listener’s belief that Bishop’s ability to write is limited, and worse, it can cause the listener boredom.
Likewise, some of the lead vocals come off as lazy, as at certain points, they lack integrity, or may have been rushed through the recording process. In these instances, Tom Semeraro’s voice simply seems tired, it drags on for just too long.
Luckily, Hate Wide Open ,contains a few tricky twists, at least enough to keep the listening party active for one full round. “Awaken” is a brilliantly a constructed straight rock ballad — it seems to draw its influence from a few different acts and sounds different from any other song on the album — transitioning from an emotional acoustic dance to heavy sway.
Further, the album is strong with enough NOLA type riffs, along the lines of Down or Crowbar, to further the great energy the album has. In similar fashion, “Neverland” is quite possibly the strongest track on the album. It twists straight rock with psychedelic build. If this song doesn’t capture your attention, few things will.
Overall, Hate Wide Open, is a solid attempt, but Bishop doesn’t really bless us with this one. They would do well to reevaluate how songs are written — and although the album is energetic — it just doesn’t satisfy. But don’t worry, guys, we’ll give you a second chance. Say ten Hail Mary’s and we’ll consider you absolved.
The album can be purchased directly from the band at bishopmusic.com.
Key Tracks: Awaken, Neverland, Pretty