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Music Review: Adema – Kill the Headlights

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Adema is a band that never really found itself on my radar. I remember hearing a couple of songs from them years ago, and I saw them live once (in 2003 co-headlining with Powerman 5000). Outside of that I have never had any real desire to pursue their music in any active form.

Now I find myself with their latest, Kill the Headlights, in my hands. I vaguely wondered if it would be anything like their middle of the road/radio-friendly nu-metal sound they were peddling. After all, they had gone through a few line-up changes, including two replacement lead singers since 2001. It is also documented that they (meaning the remaining original members) never cared for the nu-metal label, wishing to just be called a rock band.

Well, the sound is still definitely Adema, which I cannot say means all that much. I went and listened to a couple of singles, streamed online, from their debut to get a taste of them again. The songs were definitely in the light nu-metal vein, and most due to Marky Chavez's voice (likely the influence of his half-brother, Korn's Jonathan Davis). The departure of Chavez, following their third album, led to the arrival of Luke Caraccioli, whose voice I have not heard. He did not remain that long before being replaced by Bobby Reeves, making his first appearance here on Kill the Headlights. Reeves was found in the LA band LEVEL, whose ranks were also raided for guitarist Ed Faris. This gives Adema a second guitar player for the first time since Mike Ransom departed in 2003.

As for the album? Well, like I said, it still has that Adema quality found on the earlier disks. What they benefit from here is a cleaner production sound, and Reeves voice. Reeves is a vastly different style singer from Chavez. Where Chavez had a distinct "rappiness" to his delivery, Reeves is much cleaner and smoother. It seems as if Adema can finally rid themselves of the nu-metal label as Kill the Headlights is most definitely a rock album.

The big question is if anyone cares. Mention Adema and you are likely to receive a few blank stares. It has definitely been awhile since they were on the radio. Perhaps this will prove to be a big comeback for them, but I tend to doubt that. Everything plays towards the middle, as if they were targeting every song at a radio audience in an effort to prove their worth to the mainstream audience.

The album is completely inoffensive, and at times kind of enjoyable. That said, it is nothing special. It is a generic rock album that fails to stand out from the crowd. The production qualities are high, the performace is tight, but the songs fail to make an impact. I do think that Bobby Reeves is a better fit, but still, there is nothing to get up any excitement.

For what it is, Kill the Headlights is easy to listen to. Toss on tracks like the first single, "Cold and Jaded," or "Brand New Thing," "What Doesn't Kill Us," or "Black Clouds," and you may even find yourself singing along, or at the very least humming along. It is that kind of music. Once it is done playing you won't find it to be memorable, but while it is playing it will burrow into your brain and stick for a little bit.

Bottomline. I cannot recommend this album as it really just sort of sits there. It does have some nice melody and feels a bit stronger than the early work. Still, Adema is just a bland radio-rock that fails to deliver anything new and original.

Not Recommended.

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About Draven99

  • Kaliedo

    I personally disagree. This album is good, ignore the review.

  • Primogen18

    I loved the cd, its a huge improvement over Planets IMO, theres some great songs and Bobby fits the band very well.

  • Shanil

    This guy doesnt know what he talkin bout…this album is the best album u will hear this year…amazing Vocals and lyrics by Bobby Reaves..i cant say which song is my favourite coz all of them are amazing..they all rock

  • luc

    great improvement from previous albums. yes its not new, but we are not asking for new, we are asking for powerful and fefficient rock borderline metal melodies, and it succeeds in delivering that.

    good album from adema. maybe the best overall, even though freaking out is still out there for me, best song from adema ever.

  • jeff

    mark chavez is the best singer adema had so far

  • cz d

    agreed with the review. i listened to adema to get the “not-nu-metal-but-seriously-it’s-nu-metal” sound; this cd is too soft.

  • pavelsua

    Hey, Chris, make us a favour – shoot yourself in a head!
    I agreed with you that this album isn’t so good as “adema” or “unstable” but it still good anough. I was surprised hearing it and I completly disagree with this review! :-[

    Peaple, ignore this review – make your own opinion!!!

  • Chris Beaumont

    That’s nice, tell me to shoot myself and then say you partially agree. Waffle much? Besides, everyone should make up their own opinion.

  • Mikael

    I listened to the CD and think it is horrible. I’ve always given Adema a chance and the newest release is the most generic of all of their albums. It sounds so contrived and “designed for radio”. I think both Chavez and Caraccioli are better vocalists than Reeves, and the band would have done better to stick with Caraccioli than to recruit Reeves. Just listen to Reeves’ band Level, they’re a crappy rap-rock band!

  • Mark

    Oh come on man. Seriously, lets be fair here. Adema had considerable success during the release of their first album. I mean first of all success for a metal band isn’t really measured in album sales, thats just a method of getting their music out to a few ears for their touring. And don’t even try to deny the success of Adema’s touring following 2001. They played on the Ozzfest’s coveted main stage for Christ’s sakes. When Unstable came out there was already such tension between band members that guitarist Mike Ransom and lead singer Mark Chavez hadn’t spoken in nearly a year. Can someone tell me the details to the touring season that followed Unstable? THERE HARDLY WADN’T ANY. The band lost two members, could barely promote their new album, and generally didn’t like the approach that Arista records took to the production of their sound.
    Now as far as Caraccioli is concerned, he never really intended on sticking with the band in the long run, and this became apparent after he left. Who knows what his motives really were, whether it was just for the expierence, or to try and make name for himself, he was more concerned with his previous band Rewind Yesterday. That all set aside, the band was going on a good track with him during 2005, or so it seemed. Their USO tour had grabbed alot of attention and put them on a few front pages. Course, just as luck would have it, Caraccioli bolts, and now they got stuck with the situation as it is. Ain’t much that could be done about it one might think, but they’re still going for it regardless. Gotta admire their spirit. I’ve not scoped this album out yet with a little bit of a dissatisfication over the roller coaster their music has been on honestly. To tell you the truth I think it would be better for them to start a new project. People might actually be a little more drawn to their product if they were familar with the band memebers, but not exactly expecting the same band they heard back in 01.

    BTW Chris He partially agrees with you but previously tells you to shoot yourself in the head? Its no waffle thing goin’ man, the two aren’t link. He told you to shoot yerself in tha head but it had noting to do with your review as you can plainly see from the synchronicity between your review and his. I think you should shoot yerself in the head too. It ain’t cause I dissagree with you. If you were to ask me why I’d say “just cause.” Down here in the great State of Texas we talk about shootin people in the head all the time. It ain’t no biggie

  • Kerry

    I love the CD and the band. They are all soo chill and down to earth. Bobby Reeves is amazing!!
    He does fit the band very well! They are wonderful in concert. Ignore the review.

  • jason

    it seems that the reviewer has been replaced with someone with no taste for musical talent whatsoever – come on dude they keep nu-metal alive and you diss them?? i bet you hate linkin park too??
    ignore the review, and listen to adema yourself, i guarantee that you will like them :)

  • Will

    Poor review.

    The songs on the album are very strong and it is their best effort to date.

    The music and the lyrics are both very good and you really do remember the songs afterwards.

    The only drawback is that there is no standout track on the album, but its still a very good album