It has been suggested that nostalgia tends to run on 15- to 20-year cycles. If that's the case, then the Los Angeles alternative rock outfit Operator are right on schedule, because their blend of booming, full-throated vocals and punk- and metal-influenced guitar riffs calls back strongly to the grunge rock sound of 1992, when Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were first hitting the musical mainstream. Operator began as a solo project by singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Strong, who along with those pursuits is also a stuntman, competitive fighter, and occasional actor who had a small role in Ridley Scott's war drama Black Hawk Down. The first Operator album, 2004's Can You Hear Me Now, was a self-released demo that attracted the attention of Atlantic Records, which signed Operator in 2005. Strong began recording Operator's Atlantic debut as a solo album, but eventually lead guitarist Paul James Phillips (formerly of the nu metal hitmakers Puddle of Mudd), rhythm guitarist Ricky Thomas, bassist Wade Carpenter, and drummer Dorman Pantfoeder completed the lineup. Thus aggregated, Operator's Atlantic debut, Soulcrusher, was released in the summer of 2007. ~ Stewart Mason

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