It's been just over 14 months since Cincinnati's heavy-duty rock band Mad Anthony was in a terrifying accident outside of Evansville, IN that brought their van, and their tour, to a screeching halt.
Guitar player Adam Flaig escaped with minor injuries while lead singer Ringo Jones suffered several head lacerations. Most affected by the collision was drummer Marc Sherlock who sustained a C-4 vertebrae fracture along with serious cuts and bruises and spent time in a cervical collar. The tour van was destroyed as was some of the band's equipment with Sherlock's drum kit taking the heaviest damage.
So what does a band do when they find themselves standing on the side of the road, wondering what just happened and considering themselves lucky to still be alive?
If you're Mad Anthony, you spend some time with your family and friends, collect yourselves... and then you come out with the most powerful and thoughtful album you've ever made.
Sank for Days is the name of this new album, recorded and mastered in just 10 days at Ultrasuede Studios and released by Phratry Records. Several big names in the local music scene had a hand in the making of this album, including Scott Hanigan [bass], Scot Torres [keys], John Curley [recording], John Hoffman [engineer], Brian Niesz [mixing] and Dave Davis [mastering].
With such a strong sense of collaboration surrounding this album, one can not help but feel that this album was the final stage in the band's healing process.
The six songs that make up Sank for Days display a conscious departure from the heavier, grungier sound of their previous albums (Mad Anthony  ...I Spent All My Money On Speed Metal ) without sacrificing any of the gritty, edgy fire that fuels the three-headed dragon that is Mad Anthony. However, from the first notes of the opening track, there is enough of the familiar blistering riffs to keep the die-hard fans dialed in.
The first single to be released from Sank For Days is the title track - and rightly so, as it is the most powerful and cohesive piece. However, with titles like "The Bottom," "Stubborn" and "Never Say Never," all of the songs on the album fit together to spin a larger narrative.
Jones all but howls his vocals in a voice that reminds me of Dan Danzig if he had the avant-garde front-man attitude of Iggy Pop. Flaig and Sherlock's vocal harmonies fall a bit flat at times but that only helps to lend a sense of raw, unpolished energy.
Time and again throughout my exploration of this album, my attention was caught by the tasty rhythms generated by Sherlock in songs like "Sank for Days," "Turn it On" and "Whisper." His implementation of ghost notes and ride cymbal rings works to add a bit of spice to the recipe. It feels effortless and can turn a straightforward 4/4 drive into something far more interesting. This rhythmic anomaly also meshes deliciously with Jones' crunchy rhythm guitar and Flaig's dissonant leads to create musical passages that are emotionally-charged yet insanely catchy and memorable.
Sank for Days is the complete package full of powerful sound, touching poetry and rocking high energy. Like many fans of the local music scene, I am very happy to see that Mad Anthony is back, healthy and healed, and still able to create great music together.