By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Free Reign are getting some buzz right now—but mainly because three of their members, singer Mark Colombo, drummer Cory Procter and bassist Leonard Davis, hold day jobs as pro football players. Dallas Cowboys Colombo and Davis and Miami Dolphin Procter (a former Cowboy himself), along with non-footballer/guitarist Justin Chapman, have just released their first album, Heavier than Metal. No, it's not the worst metal record ever. But as musicians, Free Reign really prove themselves great football players.
The main strength of Heavier than Metal is embodied by Chapman, who's a reasonably competent shredder. Free Reign's lyrics are handled by Colombo, who delivers angst by the bucketful. "Waste my time with all your lies/ And I ask why, it's a last goodbye," Colombo wails on "Last Goodbye II," the final track. Colombo's lyrics may be bad, but his voice isn't awful—he just sounds like the singer for every other bad nu-metal band that's ever been on the radio.
Really, the whole album is almost laughably derivative. Credit must be given where it is due, though: As an album by a hobby band for a bunch of guys whose ultimate ambitions lie elsewhere, Heavier than Metal serves its purpose.
As a stand-alone work, however, it's pretty forgettable.