Some say they are a One Hit Wonder !! But if you listen to their music and especially to the album we'll be talking about today, you will argue otherwise !! Completely different !!
The AAF band began their journey somewhere in the California Riverside Prairie in 1996, when the grunge scene was in decline and the Nu-Metal bands are starting to show up all around. The four members: Dryden Mitchell (vocals), Terry Corso (guitars), Mike Cosgrove (drums) and Tye Zamora (bass) decided to form a band. They recorded an EP called "$ 100 EP" which contains five songs and start performing in clubs and distribute the EP to anyone who asks.
Two years pass but nothing happens and the cheerful quartet decides to record a demo tape called "Love Songs" and this time try to market it to the various record labels. But again nothing happens and there are no answers from the other side of the line... they do not say desperate and in 1999 they release their debut album independently, an album with a name that says a lot about the band's perspective - "Greatest Hits", do not know what about you but a band that gives this name to it's debut album is a band that is well worth checking out what it is "producing".
Although the album itself was somewhat successful and even received the title of Best Independent Album at the LA Music Awards, it did not receive much exposure. On this album the band made brilliant use of a well-known "trick" in the world of music. If you want to stand out or get noticed, record a cover for a famous song... and they did not just recorded "a cover". They took Michael Jackson's famous song "Smooth Criminal" and turned it into a hysterical punk rock hit !!! But nothing happened here !!
Wait, did not you say a hysterical hit?
Like we said the album was not a huge success and this song was not exposed either, but the record companies started to express interest in the band and in 2000 they signed with the record company NRG and immediately entered the studio. The record company offered the band producer Jay Baumgardner who has worked with Papa Roach and Orgy. The four liked the idea and recorded two songs with him, in order to test the chemistry, they saw that it was very well and continued to record 12 more songs. On March 6, 2001, they release the album "ANThology", their second album but first on a major label.
The song “Courage” that opens the album gives a purposeful display of the band's abilities and style. A style that is very reminiscent of the Nu-Metal bands that grew up at that time like Papa Roach, Incubus and more... The song talks about a relationship that has reached a breaking point and what a beauty of fragility there is in the song. The verses enter in a rough groovy rhythm and break down and explode in chorus.
The next song is one of their big hits which came out as the first single from the album. “Movies” is a fun song that makes you scream to the skies when you hear the chorus. Do you remember his music video on MTV2? If not then click down here and remember. What a funky baseline combined with a guitar staccato and an excellent drum groove !!! This song also talks about a relationship, this time a relationship of a couple "living in a movie".
If until now you have not fallen in love with the style, then now you are sure to fall in love, pick up the volume and listen to the groove. The third song on the album “Flesh & Bones”, we will not repeat ourselves but we fell in love with the sounds !! This time the song talks about relationships people have with religion, it wonders about human beliefs.
Do you like them? Yes? Excellent !! You don't? Immediately jump to track number 12...
In the next song, “Whisper,” the band's singer Mitchell takes out all of his frustrations about the music industry. All the first years they tried to break into the world and failed, what the industry looked like in his eyes. Record companies dictate to bands what they want, how to create, how to write and how to sing.
We will jump to the 7th song on the album, “Attitude”. Here we take a slight turn to something different, soft and charming. We were addicted to the style, the fingering in the chorus is so beautiful. This song features Lenny Castro from Toto on percussion. Needless to say, here too we are dealing with a relationship.
These five songs are the most prominent on the album for us, apart from the fact that they are just great (in our opinion) they take us back in time to the craze of the 2000s. They have the DNA of the band with the special style.
Remember we talked about Michael Jackson's cover? The 12th track on the album is the cover "Smooth Criminal". The idea for the cover came from a warm-up performed by the band before shows, they used to warm up with parts of this song and each time the audience was raging, so in the end they decided to perform it in full and record it. After the release of the first single "Movies" the album still did not gain momentum and despite the clip and the song played on the radio stations it did not really catch on.
But when the cover came out as a second single it was already an explosion !! The music video was regularly aired on MTV and on various radio stations. It took first place in the Modern Rock Tracks chart and was a resounding success in the US and Europe.
Thanks to the cover and the rest of the singles, the album gained insane exposure and to this day is the band's famous album. It won first places on the Billboard charts in the US and many European countries, where it stayed for many weeks and not just for a quick visit.