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Chiba-Ken's hodgepodge style fuses many different forms of rock together on the 11-track ARE WE INNOCENT? With a watchful eye on the current wave of metal and hard rock, this Long Island by way of Manhattan-based quintet showcases a vast comprehension of what makes the likes of bands Incubus and Trivium tick, as tracks like "Army Invincible" skillfully blurs the lines between fist-pumping metal and contagious alt rock. Grandiose in both production value and songwriting prowess, Chiba-Ken convincingly demonstrates its love affair with blending heavy riffs, melodic singing, and memorable hooks without sounding derivative or falling into cliches, thus establishing its own mark without coming off as a clone. Meshing post-hardcore power with unrefined passion, tracks like "Faster Tonight" patch together the current darlings of modern rock radio's signature sounds, "Legion" provides a nu-metal pate bursting with Deftones, Disturbed, and Chevelle-esque goodness, and a secretive pact between Queensryche and Faith No More is revealed on "Prisoner 105". Treading familiar territories with a tricked-out and suped-up all terrain vehicle in tow, ARE WE INNOCENT? exhibits Chiba-ken's brawny and adventurous brain-powered hard rock outpouring.
- Mike SOS