Top Dead Centre

by Sal Serio
January 2010

Ontario's Top Dead Centre

Ontario's Top Dead Centre

TDC is Top Dead Centre from Ontario. Far From Nowhere is the name of their CD. BUT - - all the way to somewhere, and somewhere big, is more like it. These guys have major potential if they can get heard by the right people.

Listen, I can tell right outta the gate that from time to time I’m going to bring up the names of other bands in this review. And I really don’t want to. BUT - - just know going in to this, that if I bring up the name of other bands it’s meant as a pretty big compliment - because I’d compare TDC with bands that I like A-L-O-T.

The interesting thing is, I didn’t immediately gravitate to their record. Rather, it was more like it creeped up on me. Probably at first the musical similarities got in the way. I guess that familiarity with ageless hard rock that I’ve liked from the 70s to the present was a little too safe for me. BUT - - like I say, that was just on the first listen.

I will tell you something about that first listen though. Hitting play and hearing the bad boy metal of “On A Train” smacked me in the forehead like a six foot man walking into a five foot doorframe. Dave Russ’ vocal track sounded like Vince Neil after a forty-eight-hour cigarette and whiskey binge, which added to my wooziness. It was fairly intoxicating (if not otherwise eventful) right from the get-go.

I put the CD out of my mind since at that time it was the onset of the holiday season. BUT - - I forgot to take it out of the CD changer and it remained in rotation for a solid six to eight weeks. The disc would pop up out of nowhere while I was playing background music, attending to other things. Every single time I would go… “Who IS this band??” before I’d remember, “Oh yeah, it’s the Top Dead Centre CD”!

My favorite Far From Nowhere tune wound up being “The Bottle Drops”, with it’s searing slide guitar intro that would make Mick Mars turn his rigid smirk into a full fledged grin. The brutal rhythm section of Wally Z and Rod Albon are beyond tight. I mean, Wally Z’s brutally relentless drum work and staccato fills are just sick. Russ’ vocals display an impressive range here too, and the emotion behind the vocal delivery is readily apparent. I’m also a sucker for the Skynyrd-like bridge with more slide guitar set to a marching band drum beat! Gimme more!

There was PLENTY more to like about the band and what they accomplished on this, their recorded debut. First off, while I’m talking about it, is the quality of the recording itself. The whole sound of this CD is pretty awesome… like it has hit that difficult to obtain midpoint between the crispness of the studio sound and the organic live feel. That quality really benefits Jim McLean’s Floydian guitar sound on the dream weaving “End Of Times”.

The charisma of some chick’s sexy voice over the cocksure riff-heavy swagger of “Slow Down” can’t be denied. “Slow Down” may be the CD’s prime radio number, with it’s accessible Creed/STP/Pearl Jam crowd appeal. Hey! Listen up, you DJ vermin, you. Why aren’t you playing this stuff on the radio?

What more can I tell you? When you open this can of worms, they come out painted in an Ozzy/Motley Crue/Aerosmith/Rush rainbow. BUT - - not in a retro way. In more like a “I’m not afraid to let the past show it’s presence in the future” way. Which I can relate to. BUT - - and I won’t shit you one little bit, Far From Nowhere is a helluva fun ride, straight through to the closing anthemic power ballad “Say Goodbye”. Something tells me “nowhere” and “goodbye” won’t be subjects Top Dead Centre will be thinking about for long!

This is reaffirmed by two more recent developments. First, the group got a second guitarist, Dan Araquel, to fill out their live sound so that TDC concerts are guaranteed just as solid and in your face as the Far From Nowhere CD. Secondly, the CD was nominated for the “Best Loud/Metal Recording of the Year” at the 2009 Hamilton Music Awards (in their native Hamilton, Ontario).

TDC promises new material for 2010, which is bound to kick start CD players all over North America. I, for one, can’t wait, because the momentum they’ve set in place is unstoppable. If the USA was once consumed by a glacier that had crept upon us from the North, then Top Dead Centre is the inferno that will shoot down from above the border to set our world perpetually on fire. BUT - - that’s the kind of global warming I can relate to. Bask in the steamy heat found at

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Top Dead Centre Online:

Top Dead Centre
CD: Far From Nowhere
Download Far From Nowhere on Amazon