This list was a little hard to compile because the majority of Pop Evil’s albums are great. I was introduced to Pop Evil with “Last Man Standing” via the local rock station, which gives War of Angels a special tint. However, Onyx is a loud, bold rock album. Then, Lipstick on the Mirror has some great tunes that stand toe to toe with the band’s later work.
To complicate matters even more, these albums also feature a wonderfully gritty sound that is grungy and intense. To me, this is Pop Evil’s sound, despite what they tried to do on Up. On top of this trademark sound, all three of these albums are laced with an in-your-face spirit, which when combined with the brash instruments creates an intoxicating sound that wraps itself around the listener, encasing them in a warm gooey cocoon of hard rock.
My biggest reason for placing Up in last place is because it lacks Pop Evil’s trademark sound, attitude and spirit. It feels flat and void of the same spunky energy that flows through the rest of their albums.
Up has some high points, such as the opener “Footsteps”. This track is slower and permeated with electronic sounds, but it’s still enjoyable. However, it is nothing like the singles from their previous albums. “Vendetta”, one of the heavier songs comes much later on the disc. It has some of Pop Evil’s signature energy, but it doesn’t come close to the power on their other albums.
When the first single, “Footsteps”, dropped and I listened to it, I was immediately disappointed, however, I didn’t give up hope for the album. Eventually, I borrowed the album, listened through it and was unsatisfied. Pop Evil had seemingly lost their spiteful edge that made them wonderful and unique.
#4 Lipstick on the Mirror
With a tinge of regret, I am placing their first album in third. It’s a great album that contains their signature attitude and sound: however, the top two albums demonstrate these elements much better. Tossing away the tears, we can assess the album for what it is; a wonderful rock album and a grand debut.
The single “100 in a 55” is the tune that made Pop Evil famous, and rightly so. The song is splendid. It opens with an acoustic, singer songwriter vibe before dropping off into hard rock territory. “Stepping Stone” follows the same blueprint, which if you’re like me and enjoy a song that switches styles and tones, is another perfect track.
There are plenty of heavier numbers, like the open “Hero” and “Ready or Not”, for the band to show off their darker side. While these songs are not the band’s heaviest, they are still good additions to their catalog.
Do not be fooled by where this record landed on this list. This record is worth listening to if you enjoy contemporary rock. It is a solid album, and light years better than Up.
#3 War of Angels
As I mentioned, I was introduced to Pop Evil by several tracks on War of Angels, and therefore it was hard to place this album on this list. I didn’t want to rate it higher than it deserves, nor did I want to put it too low, because it is a good album. In the end, it landed in the second slot.
One of the best things about this record is the sound. It is aggressive, loud, fun: and yet, there are softer songs that are beautiful, and just as addictive as the harsher tunes. The instruments are gritty, matching the vocals.
“Purple” is a brilliant example of one of these slower, more gentle songs. “Monster You Made” falls into this category as well. These songs are not singer songwriter ballads. They are not filled with delicate acoustic guitar tones being gently plucked and strummed. Rather, they feature thick chords and thunderous drum work. These are rock ballads.
This album has plenty of songs that help fulfill every headbanger’s dream. From the opening tracks, “Last Man standing”, “Epitaph” to later tracks like “Daisy Chain” and “Black and Blue”, there are several songs that are bound to elevate the listener’s heart rate. Fancy guitar riffs and hooks dots the album, while the vocals switch between a low brooding call to chanting choruses.
Onyx is everything harsh and lovely like War of Angels but on a higher level. It has soaring vocals, chugging guitars and a dim, moody atmosphere. Additionally, most of the album is capable of being released as a single. With all of this evidence in hand, I decided Onyx should be placed in the number one slot.
From the first notes of Onyx I was hooked. “Goodbye My Friend”, the opening track, starts the album off with a bass riff that is gilded with the band’s dark, moody style. Their spirited attack on the listener does not stop after this song, rather it continues throughout the record, without losing any of Pop Evil’s throaty energy.
“Trenches”, the lead single, is a great example of their trademark sound, energy and attitude. Leigh Kakaty launches a brutal assault as he chants and screams, while the rest of the band keeps the song moving forward at full speed.
Just like War of Angels, Lipstick on the Mirror and any good rock album, Onyx has a mellow side, where the focus shifts toward the lyrics. Leigh Kakaty, again, demonstrates his talent on these melodic tracks, as he restrains his voice.
#1 Pop Evil
For me, Pop Evil’s self-titled album lands in the number one spot. This album takes the good elements from their previous records and secures them on a single disc. There are heavy tracks, slow tunes and some radio friendly songs. In short, there are songs on Pop Evil for everyone.
“Waking Lions” is a great opener and lead. It isn’t the band’s heaviest song, but it has a beautiful message. This song is all about self-empowerment and battling whatever demons are lurking in the shadows. The second single, “A Crime to Remember” is much slower, but just as enjoyable. And, like a few of the songs of the album, it has a political tint. To me, “Be Legendary” is a glistening example of “radio-friendly-rock-song”. It’s a poppy rock song, with a slick riff laced throughout the tune. While this isn’t a single, it has the potential.
One of the best things about Pop Evil is that shows maturity. The band fused their heavier roots with some of the elements they experimented with on Up. The band was able to splice together some hard rock notions, gentle tones and the spirited energy of their earlier albums to craft a winning combination.