Emerging from the iconic Seattle music scene, 5-piece rockers Custom began hitting the ground running in the music realm when they first formed in 2002 by guitarist Corey Petro and quickly began acquiring a street buzz. Flash forward nineteen years and Custom is currently one of the leading voices in the vibrant Seattle scene, releasing a handful of records and performing shows at a vast array of prominent venues and events to create a big name for themselves as a band with a raw energy approach to their big guitar-driven signature sound.
Their flavor of Rock is very distinctive; utilizing elements from 80s bands like Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister and Judas Priest while also diligently implementing a more modern sensibility that fits today’s more innovative Rock aura. After the widespread success of their album ‘Brace For Impact’ in 2018, Custom knew they had to follow up with a record that would do themselves justice while also raising the bar to the heights they already created – and that resulted in the band’s 2021 release ‘V’, their highly anticipated fifth studio album. If fans of the band were eager for a release that would crank up the performance and production value while still boasting that Custom signature sound they’ve been known for, then they got exactly what they wanted and a boatload more. Opening banger “King Alice” sets the tone for the record and truly hits you full force with their pounding rhythm section, beefy guitar gains and arena-style vocals that come together into one explosive sound. Vocalist David Lyon is at the top of his game on this track with his anthemic melody choices, high-range leads and distinctively executed vibratos. He leaves no stone unturned and really brings his vocal approach right to the forefront in a way that is both effective and impressionable for both old fans and new. For anyone that hasn’t heard Custom yet, this opening track will absolutely grab your undivided attention for the rest of the album’s duration.
Another notable track on this record is anchor single “Open Road”, a song with a rhythmically driving tempo and crunchy chugging guitars that really deliver the verses with punchy measures. Like the opening track, Lyon again serves up an anthemic chorus that is unwaveringly catchy and themed with clever lyrical outbursts. The wa-wa/crybaby guitar solo on this song is absolutely face-melting and several new elements are introduced on this track that really adds to the band’s overall distinctive Rock flavor. And that’s one notable factor of this record – each song brings something new to the table all while sustaining the perfect balance of consistency to give the band their own signature style that is completely their own. One more notable entry on this album is “Ten Years Gone”, a punchy tune with more subtle verses and atmospheric elements throughout the song’s structure. Lyons’ vocal harmonies in the chorus and octave-measures in the second verse are incredibly effective and showcases his vocal ability from other crucial angles. This song, just like the others mentioned, brings several new facets of the band’s songwriting structures while still maintaining their signature style that’s been made apparent since the opening track. This track is incredibly flavorful and is definitely a standout on the album altogether.
Overall, ‘V’ is an album that will definitely exceed expectations. It’s a record that balances both originality and familiarity in a way that will entice just about any listener to dive deeper into Custom’s discography and career altogether. It’s a record that has staying power, where it stays with you even long after it’s over – and you’ll definitely be coming back to it time and time again as one of your favorite releases in 2021 for the Rock spectrum. You can get your copy of ‘V’ now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and any other digital music streaming platform. You’ll be more than happy that you did.