ANIMAL DRIVE – Bite! (2018)
Frontiers Music will release of ANIMAL DRIVE‘s debut album entitled “Bite!” on February 23, a new band with a potent, vibrant sound. Hailing from Zagreb, Croatia, ANIMAL DRIVE were created in 2012 by singer Dino Jelusic, who is the primary songwriter and driving force behind the band.
Introduced to the label by the one and only Jeff Scott Soto, ANIMAL DRIVE immediately impressed the label executives thanks to Jelusic’s incredibly commanding presence befitting of the enormous hard rock songs that were being performed.
Jelusic was chosen by the late Paul O’Neill to tour as a featured vocalist on Trans-Siberian Orchestra‘s most recent U.S. tour, which is how he crossed paths with Soto and which would ultimately lead to them becoming labelmates.
Influenced by legendary bands such as Skid Row (think Slave To The Grind era), Whitesnake at their heaviest, Jeff Scott Soto works, and with a little progressiv elements from Dream Theater thrown in the mix, Animal Drive take their listeners on a wild ride of hard rock bombast.
The powerful pipes of Dino Jelusic take the centre stage on this record, full and organic, while the riffs are sharp and brisk, and lead to sizzling guitar solos. The rhythm section is quite pounding, giving the Animal Drive sound both rock groove and melodic heaviness.
Opener ‘Goddamn Marathon’ is one of the heaviest tracks on offer, similar in style to SOTO (Jeff’s band), same with follower ‘Tower Of Lies (I Walk Alone)’ which also add a proggy touch akin Dream Theater circa 1992.
Much more melodic are ‘Lights Of The Damned’ which has a great drum line to open and then carries the song with fast rock groove, while in ‘Had Enough’ (one of my favorites), the melodic hard rock bounce is once more bumped up, both the riffs and bass line develop the groove as well, resulting into a track in the vein of Whitesnake’s Slip Of The Tongue era.
There’s a great melodious anthem in midtempo ‘Father’ adding acoustic to the mix, then a piano driven ballad with ‘Carry On’ showcasing Jelusic’s vocal habilities in a ‘Jorn style’.
ANIMAL DRIVE‘s “Bite!” rocks with energy, strong songs and a bright, punchy production. There’s something for everyone here (read the mentioned influences above), and I would add Sebastian Bach solo, the greats Balance Of Power, even some Bob Catley epicness.
It’s all very melodic and sharp, heavy, very well rounded by competent musicianship and arrangements.
01 – Goddamn Marathon
02 – Tower Of Lies (I Walk Alone)
03 – Had Enough
04 – Hands Of Time
05 – Lights Of The Damned
06 – Time Machine
07 – Father
08 – Fade Away
09 – Carry On
10 – Devil Took My Beer Again
11 – Deliver Me
Dino Jelusic – vocals
Ivan Keller – guitar
Roko Rokindja Nikolic – bass
Adrian Boric – drums