uncaged    Hard rocker Chip DiMonick is back with a new album and a bit of a new lineup, with a fuller, more modern hard rock sound bordering on true heavy metal.

    Fresh off the heels of their winning tally in the “Best Punk/Rock Band” voting for The Pittsburgh Music Awards, Uncaged finds the band embracing the controversy and resulting uproar from the “legitimate” punk rock community with the best punk song to come our way in quite some time.

    “You Ain’t Punk” is simultaneously a self-deprecating nod to those who felt that the band did not deserve to win this particular category and a slap in the face of anyone who questions the ability of this band to compete in that field. It is 100% punk and a hilarious parody of the whole controversy.

    As amusing and enjoyable as this number was, “You Ain’t Punk” is not representative of the overall DiMonick sound. Even though the instruments are tuned to modern punk, the pace, cadence, and vocal harmony pay homage to The Ramones. Right out of the gate, the first 3 seconds of the title track serves notice that Uncaged represents an evolution of the more diverse hard rock sound which is the true foundation of this band, rather than some expedient flip flop to pure punk. Heavy would be the operative word, heavier than their last album, in fact. Chunky guitar riffs and thunderous percussion at a medium pace, the true hallmarks of hard rock, are still this bands’ strong suit.

    Their trademark humor is again on display with “That’s How Much I Hate You”, another bordering-on-true-heavy metal tune. There’s even a power ballad, “Lightning Bolt”, so no, Chip DiMonick are not a “punk” band per se. They simply have a better than average ability to incorporate the broader spectrum of rock into their act, whether through a mixture or direct interpretations such as “You Ain’t Punk”.

    I must confess though, that I listened to that one several times. Aside from its inspiration by and relevance to the controversy, one can easily hear it emanating from a radio, a jukebox, amphitheaters, whatever. Irony is a huge factor in the success and failure of bands, and a band with a great sense of humor is in a better position to capitalize on it. It would indeed be fitting if this proves to be a breakthrough hit for this exceptionally talented not-punk band.

– Jay Belfiore

Category: Soundcheck