Hard rock is often (fairly) criticized for being a bit of a boys club. Enter Philadelphia-based Meredith Bell. With the pipes of a pop diva but the fury of Sevendust, her debut EP The Awakening demands attention.
The EP is a messy heartbreak of an album. “I wanted you / to know the truth / but you didn't want to listen,” Meredith wails in opener “So Gone.” The songs are aimed squarely at an ex, but the theme is less about self-pity and more about self-discovery. That yearning to move forward keeps the EP from wallowing in pain the way hard rock sometimes can. (self-loathing and self-pity went out of style with JNCOs...)
Meredith's backing band deserves a share of the credit too. Classic metal virtuoso guitarist Jason Dunkerely compliments Meredith's operatic wail well. His riffs never compete for space with her giant voice (a hopeless task anyway) but are just complex enough to challenge Meredith's voice.
The self-released EP is out now, and is definitely worth checking out. For damn sure, this is a band worth watching.