Sound — 6
Earshot was formed in 1999 by the vocalist/guitarist Wil Martin and two guitarists Mike Callahan and Scott Kohler. The bassist Johnny Sprague and drummer Chas Stumbo joined the act lately. After the release in 2002 their debute album "Letting Go" group had started the promoting tour. They returned to the studio in 2003 after spending much of the year. It was a fruitful year for the group, so they went to the studio with fresh material to make up a new record. Earshot's second album "Two" in comparison with "Letting Go" has more violent guitar riffs, obscure lyrics and professional sound. Taking into consideration the fact that songwriter Wil Martin reared on classic hard and heavy rock music -- such as Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Metallica -- the album sound has some inspirations of these groups, however it's still nothing more than a pure alternative metal/nu-metal. Despite of that fact, Earshot has unique -- in some way -- sound, lyrics, and style. "There seems to be an emotion lacking in music today," Wil says. "There was such an honesty in the music of the '70s and early 90's." In contrast with majority of alternative bands, Earshot's music stays half-step aside from the most of them. From one side the album's sound is streamlined and unique. It's a result of painstaking job of group members and their producer Johnny K. "Johnny K. understood that we wanted to keep this album sounding live and natural, and we didn't want a ton of 'production' on it." comment Wil. On the other, its sound has noticeable coating of commercializing. There are not many sound expriments or other innovations, instead it was produced to appeal for the most of nu-metal fans. Probably beside advanced bass riffs. Thus "Two" is a perfectly recorded album without many deviations from the metal music roots. Every fan of hard and heavy genre will find everything required: tearing and melody singing powered with aggressive guitar riffs, loud and clear drums, and outstanding bass lines.
Lyrics — 8
"There's a darkness to my lyrics, but there's a calm, too. The songs might be dark, but they're not dismal," Wil admits. In general their lyrics are dark and depressive -- the same as on the first album -- but overall Wil Martin improved his songwriting skills. All the songs are fairly good and different. "Two" is full of intense emotion and like the quote on top there is a wide variety with personal struggles and heavy looks into relationships. You can catch the doubts and fears of Wil Martin throughout the album. "They're really nothing more than honest accounts of life, experiences and thoughts that myself and other people go through or feel," says Wil about "Tongue Tied" and "Someone" songs. Somehow more meaningful and daring lyrics of "Two" might be an obstacle for the band major success, because of the current predominance of mainstream's cheerful and positive themes. However, despite of the gloominess of Earshot's sound and lyrics, their song "Get Away" from the first album reached the fourth place on the charts and stayed in the Top 100 for over 60 weeks. And "Two" can do the same with no doubt.
Overall Impression — 8
Earshot play with your feelings throughout the record: the heartbreak and depression of some songs replaces with the triumph and power in others. If the music still have that heavy feel and sound where chaos, double bass and insane screams is what it's all about, then you know a great production has been achieved. If you think this statement is right -- buy this album. If you like the the sounding of Tool, Smile Empty Soul, A Perfect Circle and alikes -- buy this album. If you liked Earshot's first release "Letting Go" -- buy this album twice. There is nothing groundbreaking about Earshot, but you won't be disappointed. 'nuff said.