Reviewed by: Dan Williams
It’s stunning how so much weight can be delivered by just three skilled players. Philly-based Power Trio On Top drops their new EP TOP DOLLAR this Friday, and it’s a burner!
On Top blends elements of Classic 70’s Rock, 80’s Heavy Metal with touches of punk in a modern hard driving package.
I caught up with lead singer and bassist Jaron Gulino while he fills in on tour with legendary hard rock band Tantric. On Top is a project Gulino has led for seven years with local drummer Danny Piselli. Guitarist Ric Haas takes over on guitar. Together, they provide the driving muscle and momentum that has become synonymous with their sound.
Piselli brings a relentlessly heavy death metal drumming style to the sound that forces the listener back in their seat. His creativity in beats and fills is an assault that lays a strong foundation on which to build.
Gulino has been a dynamic presence in the Mid-Atlantic area for at least ten years. His reputation is already locked in as the charismatic and energetic bass player for Philly’s MACH22. Over the past year with MACH, Gulino has shared stages with Guns N’ Roses, Bret Michaels, Bon Jovi, and other monsters of rock. He has also been sought out as guest bassist with Australian band Dellacoma and now American band Tantric. His star is seriously on the rise.
This record marks the debut of new lead guitarist Ric Haas. His guitar virtuosity is virtually unparalleled, if one considers his time in the industry. His bluesy R&R style brings a powerful new direction to the On Top sound. Haas has made a name for himself as a wunderkind on the axe. At just eighteen, he has already guested on a side on Dee Snider’s (Twisted Sister) CD and joined MACH22 as second guitarist alongside Sebastian LaBar. His very first gig with MACH22 was last July opening for Guns N’ Roses at Lincoln Financial Field. A meteor doesn’t fly this fast. But his fingers do!
The lead single is the blistering “Lovin’ The Devil.” It leads in with a crunchy jaw-dropping shredded guitar then met with Piselli’s driving drums. Gulino jumps in with his unique vocal attack and strong bass lines.
Lines like “It hurts so good, I got it bad” signal Gulino’s autobiographical and observational source material for lyrics. “I write about what I’m going through, other people and personal relationships, some good, some otherwise” he says in describing his work. He goes on to say that “On Top is more widely focused” than his other projects and that the trio loves playing whether in practice or in front of an audience. Either way, they play for themselves and hope that their high-octane energy and living for the moment translates to the audience.
A behind the scenes fourth member of this team is Joe DeLuca at Why Me Recording in Gibbsboro, NJ. DeLuca is an industry veteran with a very long list of top shelf clients going back decades. He’s just the right guy with the right touch to squeeze the perfect sound out of this record. The EP was mixed and mastered by Chris “The Wizard” Collier at CM21 Productions.
Top Dollar drops Friday, August 18th and will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and most other traditional sources.