Chroma Review

artist: Cartel date: 05/29/2008 category: compact discs
Cartel: Chroma
Release Date: Sep 20, 2005
Label: Militia Group
Genres: Indie Rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
This album will without a doubt set Cartel apart from all other bands in their genre and serve as a distinct listening experience.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 9.4
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reviews (5) 6 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
Chroma Reviewed by: PhoenixSurvivor, on january 11, 2006
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is the first full length album Atlanta 5-piece Cartel have released. "The Ransom EP" was released in 2004 and gave us a glimpse of how great this band could be. Chroma, their sophomore effort was my favourite CD of 2005, for so many reasons. This CD contains mature lyrics and a very diverse sound, the difference between tracks is phenominal. "The Minstrel's Prayer" is a truly original beautiful ballad, but then you also have the more generic pop-punk songs such as "Honestly." The overal sound of this album is one of the best I've heard since Fall Out Boy's "Take This To Your Grave" and is truly a credit to the genre called "pop-punk." // 9

Lyrics: Will's singing on this record stays true to their first EP, he is great singer compared to many other pop-punk bands and stands out in a world of generic sounding vocalists. The lyrics on this album are amazing, with the best track being "The Minstrel's Prayer" lyrics-wise, I've never heard lyrics like that used in a song, which makes for an original listen. The songs are full of hooks and Will's voice just makes you want to sing along with them. For a band thats only released an EP before their first LP, the maturity and hooks contained in the lyrics of this album are amazing. // 9

Overall Impression: As I said in the first section, I think this was my favourite CD of 2005, because it stands out. The best songs on this album are "The Minstrel's Prayer", "Settle Down" and "Lucky St." I love everything about this album, the production is fantastic and the writing is top-notch. There is no fantastic solos or complicated riffs but pure great songwriting, which personally I enjoy more. If this album was ever lost I'd buy it straight away again, even though it'd be on my CD, its a CD I want to own, and I think every punk-pop/alternative music fan should too. // 10

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overall: 9.7
Chroma Reviewed by: forsaknazrael, on january 30, 2006
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: I first heard of this band off, and one of their staff, Jason Tate, was praising them in his review. And that, to me, is pretty shocking. For the time I had spent there, I hadn't known Jason to believe this much in any sort of music. So, naturally, there had to be something special about them. They had their music streaming on AbsolutePunk, and I was not disappointed at all. Cartel has succeeded in creating a catchy, upbeat, yet instrospective pop punk record. Every song stands out on its own, not one of them could be considered filler. The album kicks off with Say Anything (Else) and the song begins with the sound of a record scratching and it being played. Then you hear William's, the lead singer, vocals, and they sound as if they're coming from a phone. He tells us, "And baby don't follow their lead/'cause you'll never know/Just how the story ends, or how the story goes." And from right there, I knew that Cartel were a different breed of band. Say Anything (Else) is a great album opener, starting off the album's overall mood to a very energetic atmosphere. These guys know how to catch your attention. Honestly is a bit of a love song, with a very catchy chorus. Runaway just proves Cartel has catchy song writing cornered. Alhough it starts off quite lackluster, with alot of palm muting, William's vocals are more than enough. But the rest of the song picks up, I'm quite a fan of the solo. It's not extremely technical but it is fun, and it does convey the emotion of the song. And it isn't that what soloing is all about? Matter Of Time has a great tempo change in it, right near the end. Another great example of his vocals. Burn This City is a sort of stand up and shout song, I think. It's a testament to all the basement bands and kids wanting to break out. Save Us opens up with piano, a nice break from all the fast paced guitar riffs. They know how to keep you interested, by breaking up the tempo of the album like this. They also introduce some string arrangements later in the song. At the end of this song there's some sounds that make it sound elike the tape or record is being flipped to side 2. Just In Time For Luckie St. Another charged and catchy song that reminds you about how fun it was to be young. Settle Down has a great opening drum beat that sets the pace of the song. Every time the chorus kicks in, there's a lot of energy in it. And there's this great lead near the end. If I Fail opens up with a hear wrenching line, once you realize it. "It's time to go, this is goodbye". No one wants to hear it. The Minstrel's Prayer is held together by it's drum beat and string arrangements. This is another song where William just shines as their lead singer. Q uses a lot of palm mutes during the verses, but the chorus is littered with bright guitar riffs. This is one of the most empowering songs to listen to. A is a great finish to a great album, it concludes everything up until now. I think that's the best way to put it. // 9

Lyrics: Cartel tackles alot of different topics on this album. Personally, I find there music to be quite motivating in a world where dark and gloomy songs dominate. Such a environment makes you wonder, which came first, the music or the misery? But alas, I digress. Say Anything (Else), the album opener, tells you that your only limit is yourself. You define who you are and what you become. No one else can do that, and their opinion doesn't matter. Honestly is a love song, I think. That's how I would categorize it. William sings with such conviction and honesty (no pun intended, honest) and seems to be warranting a response. It's about being open, and honest with yourself, and hearing someone out. Runaway is a great followup to Honestly, I think. It's almost like the response we were waiting for from the girl in Honestly. But its not the one we wanted to hear. This song is about hiding yourself, hiding from the truth, hiding your secrets, and running away from it all. All William wants is honesty from this person, but until then, they can runaway. Matter Of Time, yet again, a great follower to the previous track. Amazing song writing. A very heartfelt approach to the human spirit. Burn The City, like I said, is a great song for all the bands trying to make it out there. It's about giving it your all, and not regretting it. You lived with passion. Save Us is song about finding meaning in your passion... Looking for someone to remind you what you're fighting for, what you're living for. They're looking for convictions, for truth. Luckie St. is a song about being young, and getting carried away in the moment. Lyrically, not my favorite song, but still very effective. Settle Down is a song about a break up... and the girl coping from it. It's about letting go of the past, because as long as you hold to that, you can't move on. If I Fail is a song about a break up, as well, but this time from the guy's point of view. A heart broken guy. If you've ever loved a girl, there's no way you won't be able to connect with this song. The Minstrel's Prayer is a very interesting way to look at music. He realizes that these songs are written to catch someone's ear. He compares himself to a minstrel who would sing for a special girl, the one whom they worked so hard to impress. This song goes out to every songwriter out there, and it tells them. Q is about reaching out for the answers to your questions. It's an eye opener, I think. It's about looking for the answer, yes, but he challenges you to stand up to ask the right questions. A takes all the ideas and questions given back in the earlier tracks and answers them. It reiterates them. It tells you that it's up to you to use whatever it is you've learned from listening to the album. Overall, Cartel knows how to construct an album. They know how to make the words fit the mood of the music. They know how to make you think. They know how to strike that chord in your heart. And God, William knows how to sing. // 10

Overall Impression: Cartel deserves any and all recognition they get. They're one of the most honest bands I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. I really can't name any specific stand out tracks, I like them all. I really do. I love this album's honesty, its conviction, its willingness to ask the right questions, its ability to connect with the listener. I hope these guys hit it big. They deserve it. If my copy were stolen, I would definitely buy it again. It's worth it. Face it people, it's that good. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Chroma Reviewed by: aquaknight3, on february 09, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: I like the sound of this album. It all blends together really well. As a first, it's put together great. They were great live too, I think one of the best in the concert. I'm listening to them right now, actually, and I can't find anything wrong with the sound. They're all really good, I don't know what to say about it. // 10

Lyrics: The lyics are pretty good, but I think they're too much like other songs. I'm sure, now that there are so many songs, that they're going to sound like at least one of them. I think they listen to Yellowcard or maybe something like that. Their guitar sounds like Yellowcard's violin once or twice and "Burn This City" sounds like "Ocean Avenue" and things like that. Oh well, they're good, but I don't think they quite deserve a 10. // 9

Overall Impression: I think Cartel is an awesome group. I love the music and everything else about it. I think "Q" and "A" are my favorites on the album. I dunno, I just like them. Also "The Minstrel's Prayer," "Burn This City," "Say Anything (Else)" and "Luckie St." It's pretty cool that they start off the album with a record starting to play and then they end the album with the record being taken off the player. Pretty cool, I'll give it a 9. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Chroma Reviewed by: parkerguitars24, on november 09, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Cartel is a pop-punk I'll be frank with you, but man they've got some good guitar work on this album. I don't feel that there was anything groundbreaking about it but they've got good guitarists (Nic Hudson and Joseph Pepper). They've got a good variety of different sounding riffs and nicely executed power chords (I feel they really use the power chord better than a lot of other bands). // 9

Lyrics: Most of the lyrics were well written and perfectly matched everything about the music. I feel they weren't entirely Bob Dylan when it came to writing but that's probly a good thing for pop-punk. Overall they were well thought out, I guess. Will Pugh has a great set of pipes. // 8

Overall Impression: This was a big step up from their Ransom EP in songwriting and guitar. The highlights of the album were Say anything Else, Honestly Burn this City, Minstrel's Prayer(greatest ballad ever) and Settle Down. I love this album do death albeit it is a little poppy but not so much a Green Day fan couldn't listen to it. This CD is best for fans of Relient K, All-American Rejects, OK Go, and I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Green Day. If it were lost or stolen I would but it again without question. // 9

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overall: 8
Chroma Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 29, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound is definitely a pop punk thing. If you are looking for intricate, complex, and very technical music look somewhere else, this is just fun to listen too. Even though the music isnt complicated it's not simple enough to be boring. It has what I call the travis barker quality to it. They do a good job at making the simple things sound really good. They make simple power chords sound good, and put in sweet riffs to sprinkle it. I really like it. And if the single honestly and say anything else turned you off try again, I think the rest of the album sounds different. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are similar to the music. Nothing is so complicated you can't come up with a meaning, but it's not simple enough to say that it's stupid. I think it sits on that very fine and hard to hit line. The lyrics aren't very complicated but they get the point across. The singer is talented and has a distinctive voice that goes well with the music. // 7

Overall Impression: For some reason some of the songs on this CD make me think of Lone Oak Corral by Say No More, especially luckie st. I've heard some people say that the music is a good but repetitive, which is a little true. But if you like the music then I'm not complaining when I get more music that sounds similar. -If it were stolen/lost, would you buy it again or get something else? interesting question. I would buy it again, it's a pop punk CD that I really enjoy. // 9

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