Chemical City Rebels – A New Plague

Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/label: Self Distributed
Released: 2019
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Band Line-up:

Ben Michon – Guitar/Vocals
Ben Fridge – Drums
Benton Lovoi – Bass
Ben Rylan – Guitar


1. Disassociate 4:06
2. Patternicity 3:35
3. DLTGBYD 4:50
4. What We Have Done 4:07
5. Time 4:23
6. Western Decline 5:31
7. Separate 5:07
8. Introspection 2:23
9. A New Plague 5:02


Bringing their Debut full-length album are Chemical City Rebels, a four-piece band from Louisiana. Their sound is very eclectic, the album has a classic and familiar sound to it and yet is fresh feeling. The album is full of catchy guitar riffs and melodies. It’s clear that Chemical City Rebels have worked hard to bring several elements together culminating in a final piece that really reflects their many influences.

First track and the first single released is ‘Disassociate’, melodic and calming vibes blending guitars with tuneful piano. The song reflects their self-proclaimed genre of ‘Stoner pop-punk’ in its dynamic, a nice slow burner that grabs your interest for what’s coming next. Vocalist Ben Michon shows his range well giving a glimpse of his heavier side in the final third of the song.

‘Patternicity’ guides us into a side-swaying, rhythmic adventure, bringing us back to a mid 90s style of presentation, roping us into a hot blend of Sound Garden and Nirvana. The riffs are there, the ambience is set and the bridge wets our lips for a jaw breaking finale that unfortunately doesn’t come. Patternicity sets its tone early on and does not waver throughout. For some this could be a guilty pleasure, for others, it could leave them in wild anticipation for another song.

Gigging and working hard to hone their craft has obviously paid off for these guys, you really get a sense of heart from these tracks you can feel their passion through the smoothness of their delivery. The guitars sound tight and the harmonies are sweet. The lyrics speak to the soul, with familiar stories of pain and anguish and pure frustration with the world in its current state  – none more so than track 4 What We Have Done  “when the tables turn and the world burns will we finally all become one?”  We are on a journey with this band, through trials and tribulations, through the injustice in the world, the pain that we all face and the pondering of what we will all become, taking us straight back to those angsty teen years that fuelled us to progress to higher heights. It’s a scene of self-reflection, a time to consider our actions and movements. A melodic bridge breaks the tension and sways us out of the melancholy and through brighter skies, while Michon’s vocals hint again at more aggressive ranges to be explored – an exciting and alluring inclination as to what lies in store as we go further into the album. There is real substance here, wrapped up in memorable melodies and catchy guitar hooks.

Track 5 ‘Time’ begins its melodious symphony into our eardrums. It begins with a song of hope, and of naive perception, so to speak. Slowly building in its ferocity and vigour. The mind can’t help but be taken by the hand and danced along the likes of Pearl Jam. The song is defeating, uplifting and full of heart (much like time itself). Time to pull up the big boy pants and get some business sorted. Chaotic interludes with an exit of pure bliss.

A real turning point in the album is track 6 – Western Decline, this is most definitely the pinnacle of the whole album – a more aggressive approach to the rest of the tracks thus far it feels like a relentless angst-ridden message that needs to be heard. The vocals are heavy and full of heart – a blackened one – perhaps, which until you experience it, is clear what this album has been yearning for and building towards. Showcasing his vocal range in an explosive debut Michon lets it all out. Pure passion runs through his vocal cords and bursts from his lips in a much-needed bout of aggression. Western Decline truly shows us just how powerful this ensemble can be.

As we ascend closer to the end of this vibrant and eclectic medley of tracks, Chemical City Rebels seem to be firmly finding their feet. The sound is becoming more refined, the arrangements are becoming neater and each new track is like tasting chocolate for the first time, a wild and exciting endeavour. The words ‘It’s so cold’ are uttered as the track slows to lead us into the second half, which bursts outwards with the much-needed aggression seen in the later tracks. The group as a whole are finding their voice, finding their sound and finding the reason they deserve to be heard.

Introspection gives us a light-hearted approach musically, to an otherwise strident collection of music. It takes us back once more, filling our senses with nostalgic and evocative memories.

Rounding with title track, A New Plague.

A New Plague sits us down and tells us to listen. Sinister in tone and baleful in nature, the title track of the album brings this experience to a close. Guitars match the rhythm of a crazed heart, a perfect background to a more foreboding set of lyrics than we’ve experienced so far. If one thing is for certain, Chemical City Rebels have certainly taken us on a wild ride from beginning to end with their debut record, showcasing a broad and comforting range of music. As they continue to develop a style that perhaps has been lost, the future looks bright, if not chaotic, for Chemical City Rebels.

Review by Rebecca Bush