HPGD Productions (2011)
Philadelphia hard rock with classic metal riffing and sleazy vocals - On Top are another act willing to use retro themes and pure energy on this debut album “Top Heavy”. Fluctuating with lineup shuffles since their late 2008 inception, the current trio laying down these 10 songs (plus brief title intro) consists of bassist/ vocalist Jaron Gulino, guitarist Alex Kulick and drummer Danny Piselli. There’s something special about three musicians who just look collectively into their favorite bands and spit out a series of songs that are very street oriented with spunk.
Elements of early Queensrÿche, Dokken, Loudness, and Grim Reaper come out the most when I’ve taken in multiple exposures to tracks like “Into The Night”, “Sick And Tired”, and “Hot ‘N Wet”. As a vocalist Jaron doesn’t possess the killer pipes of a Steve Grimmett or Bruce Dickinson- he is more of a clean hard rock guy with a sleazy context to separate himself from the pack. Sometimes the lyrics are very to the point and repetitive but for On Top I believe this works as an added charm- subscribing to the less is more philosophy. The strongest appeal for the group lies in the versatility from Alex’s searing riffs and leads- he’s studied the best of the 80’s movement from domestic and abroad spectrum and as such my ears lift off when taking in highlights like “Die High” and “Up To No Good”. It’s rare when you hear someone who can peel off Ratt licks and Obsession/Loudness leads all within the same song and not sound out of place- but that’s the kind of key figure Mr. Kulick is to the On Top fierceness.
“Top Heavy” bring me back to my youth, and could unleash the free metal spirit inside us all. Early MTV Heavy Metal Mania viewers would crown this band heroes- let’s hope this is the start of a fruitful, productive time for On Top.
Rating: 4.5 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe