Letters from a Broken Home
Music can be a powerful unifying force at times bringing together the least likely of combinations. Such is the case with Dirty Beloved, an Ottawa based hard rock band whose members, despite having very different musical backgrounds, enjoy a unique musical bond. On their new album, Letters From A Broken Home, the results of this bond are evident in vocals exploring the challenges that life throws us during our day to day existence balanced against a backing instrumentation that is a progressive blend of technical aptitude and melodic inclinations. Consisting of Armin Kamal on vocals, Michael Hope on guitars, Todd Jodoin on bass and Neil Grandy on drums, the members of Dirty Beloved come from very different musical and social backgrounds. Armin, born in Germany and then raised in Montreal and Ottawa, has been a voice in the Ottawa music scene for years. Mike, also originally from Ottawa and growing up in Barrhaven, has been playing lead from an early age with a focus on the styling of Satriani and Vai. Todd, originally from Belleville, arrived in Ottawa in '98 from Brockville where he played bass supporting acts in the blues rock scene as well as delving into industrial electronica for his own projects. Neil hails from Halifax, NS where he enjoyed a number of years as a drummer in the metal scene before moving to Ottawa in 2001. In all cases the commonality exists in the deep inspiration that music has provided to all and the dedication it has received. The band formed in 2005 and the first two years together were spent sifting through the large backlog of material orphaned from a previous project that Neil, Mike and Todd shared. Armin rose to the challenge of rewriting the lyrics for the tracks that were still aligned with the new direction and with some arrangement changes by the band to accommodate the new style, resulted in the 2007 debut release, A World Made For You. Armin says of this "It was an interesting experience for me; to actually come into an established band and re-invent vocal melodies and re-write lyrics for an entire album was something I had never done before. The guys were great, and it just felt natural. It laid the foundation for writing as a solid team for the next album". With that backlog effectively dealt with, the stage was set to focus on new material to support what would become this year's "Letters From A Broken Home". With Armin now fully integrated into the band, the songs took shape quickly. Mike comments "I think the band tried to make the best rock record we possibly could and still maintain that big groove oriented sound with some prog thrown in for good measure" . Letters From A Broken Home takes a heavier slant than the debut release choosing to focus on the darker exploration of inner conflict and frustration surrounding recent world events. Armin explains "Write what you know, and it will feel and sound honest. That's the case on this album. Some may be my experiences, some the experiences of people I know, and some about the experiences of the world at large that just plain piss me off. I try not to be too political, but sometimes it just can't be helped ". Musically, Armin's vocals express these concepts using diverse deliveries ranging from unsettled intimacy to outright rage reminiscent of the styling of Chris Cornell during his days with Soundgarden. Mike's guitar evolves from the initial direction set by his influences and moves forward in a series of technical riffs to perfectly underscore Armin's singing. Neil and Todd form the tight groove heavy foundation upon which the project relies. The result of this combined effort is a progressive hard rock album with a sense of timelessness beyond fashionable trends. Dirty Beloved is finding their audience through honest, intense music playing throughout Ottawa and the surrounding area. By writing and playing music that is genuine to the interests of the band as a priority, fans continue to be drawn in by the sincerity and passion. Letters From A Broken Home is a musical statement about staying true to your passions and life itself.