Steroid Freak Pussy—Conquer and Divide (2008)

Steroid Freak Pussy—Conquer and Divide (2008)

Steroid Freak Pussy—Conquer and Divide (2008)

Details

Recorded at the Old Chapel by Gavin Johnson. Mixed and mastered at V-Edition Studios by Gavin Johnson. Produced by Gavin Johnson and Steroid Freak Pussy.

Website | Twitter

Band

  • Tommy Shan—Vocals
  • Lee Coates—Guitars and backing vocals
  • Lizard—Guitars and backing vocals
  • Craig Dougan—Bass and backing vocals
  • Tony “MEatball” Batley—Drums, percussion and backing vocals

Additional musicians

  • Anneka Latta—Vocals on “Nitroglycerine” (track 3)
  • Mr Pete Shaw—Vocals on “Suicide nation” (track 4)
  • Sweeney Todd—Vocals on “Shut your mouth” (track 6)

Tracks

  1. Pussy blowout
  2. Fire your guns
  3. Nitroglycerine
  4. Suicide nation
  5. Wrong side of right
  6. Shut your mouth

Review

With the chorus of the opening song “Pussy blowout” (track 1) including the line “Everybody wants a little bit of pussy / Everybody needs a little bit of pussy” it’s quite clear  — as if the band’s name itself wasn’t enough of a clue — that UK sleaze rockers Steroid Freak Pussy are going down the in-your-face sexual imagery path of the likes of WASP, Faster Pussycat and Mötley Crüe.

It’s not really my thing really, either the lyrics or the music. That said, there is a bit of a Warrior Soul sound lurking in there somewhere but the cheap lyrics put it off for me, to be honest.

“Fire your guns” (track 2) is an energetic rocker that would probably sound great blasted loudly on the motorway. It’s probably my favourite track on the EP, but that’s not really saying much, to be honest.

“Nitroglycerine” (track 3) is built around a start-stop riff that is planted firmly in the sleaze rock genre, and features Anneka Latta’s vocals on the chorus (or pre-chorus).

“Suicide nation” (track 4) has a punk vibe and chugs along cheerily but there isn’t much to it. “Wrong side of right” (track 5) reminds me a little of early Motörhead in its attitude but it doesn’t have enough of a riff to interest me. It’s sleaze-by-numbers,

“Shut your mouth” (track 6) opens promisingly with a chugging riff and pounding drums. Alongside “Fire your guns” this is probably one of the strongest songs on the disc, but despite the strong intro it fails to deliver much during the verses,

Conclusion

This album wasn’t really for me. I was never really into glam or sleaze metal. This has a very 80s LA feel to it, in attitude if not entirely musical content. They weren’t so close to Warrior Soul (a band that I’ve seen live and would rank among my favourites) to redeem them for me. Thankfully the overly sexualized lyrics didn’t extend far beyond the opening track but by then they’d done their damage.

Review score: 45%

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Jag Panzer—The Fourth Judgement (1997)

Jag Panzer—The Fourth Judgement (1997)

Jag Panzer—The Fourth Judgement (1997)

Details

“The Fourth Judgement is the third studio album released (fourth recorded) by American power metal band Jag Panzer, released in 1997. It features the return of the band’s original vocalist, Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin, and the replacement of Chris Kostka on lead guitar by Joey Tafolla. The band returns to a more epic power metal feel on this album, as opposed to the thrash influence on Dissident Alliance.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Released on Century Media, 1997. Recorded at Morrisound Studios, Tampa, Florida. Producer: Jim Morris.

Band

  • Mark Briody—Rhythm guitar, keyboards
  • Harry Conklin—Vocals
  • John Tetley—Bass
  • Rikard Stjernquist—Drums
  • Joey Tafolla—Lead guitar

Tracks

  1. Black
  2. Call of the wild
  3. Despair
  4. Future shock
  5. Recompense
  6. Ready to strike
  7. Tyranny
  8. Shadow thief
  9. Sonnet of sorrow
  10. Judgement day

Review

This is the original 1997 release that I have to review, not the 2007 re-release which included three bonus songs from the band’s 1996 demo sessions—the demo that got the band signed to Century Media.

I’ve already listened through this album three times, each time evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. So, you could say then that this is… wait for it… the fourth judgement. I tell you, it takes years of listening to metal and honing ones writing skills to make killer puns like that.

I really wanted to like this album, but just as you should never judge a book by its cover, you also shouldn’t judge an album by the name of the band. Jag Panzer‘s name is an Anglicisation of the WWII German tank the Jagdpanzer and it sounds cool. I wish I could say the same for the music.

While the guitar tone (which sounds like classic Metal Church or Armored Saint) and general production of the album really can’t be faulted—Jim Morris has done a sterling job—the songs, on the other hand, on the whole just don’t move me. This album didn’t set me on fire, I’m sorry to say.

The album opens with a quasi-classical passage, à la Apocalyptica, solo vocals and a track that sounds like a bonus track from Blaze Bayley-era Maiden. (Hmm…)

After a couple of listens the album begins to feel like a pastiche of Judas Priest meets Iron Maiden meets Candlemas meets Helloween: a sort of operatic metal-by-numbers.

There are a few moments that I quite enjoyed. Track 3 ‘Despair’ has a Helloween-meets-Cabaret feel, which really shouldn’t work but I rather enjoyed it. Track 4 ‘Future shock’ is a straight-out rocking metal track. It’s not ground-breaking but it’s a solid track. Track 5 ‘Recompense’ opens with a riff that’s straight out of Maiden’s Somewhere in Time (1986) but as soon as the lyrics open I quickly lose interest.

Generally speaking the first half of the album is better than the second, in my opinion. ‘Ready to strike’ and ‘Tyranny’ sound like they are trying too hard; ‘Shadow thief’ makes me cringe; and ‘Sonet of sorrow’ is just terrible. Now bear in mind that I sang with the National Youth Choir for nine years, but the vocals are awful. There’s no diaphramatic control. The whole thing sounds like they sang it through a Leslie speaker. It sounds like they are going for a pseudo-minstrel feel.

Conclusion

Even before I reached the final track ‘Judgement day’ I had made my judgement on the first listen. Some albums are growers: you listened to them once and think: awful, but the more you listen the more you begin to appreciate the subtleties and nuances of the album.

I wanted to like this one. There are a few moments but on the whole this is a metal-by-numbers album for me: could do better.

Review score: 45%

Video

Gob Squad—Watch the Cripple Dance (2008)

Gob Squad—Watch the Cripple Dance (2008)

Gob Squad—Watch the Cripple Dance (2008)

Details

Mixed and produced by Jacob Bredahl at Smart in Hard Studio. Mastered by Ziggy at Zigsound. Words and music by Gob Squad. Album concept and album by Anders Ladegaard.

Band

Remarkably, the album doesn’t list the band members. How punk is that! One website lists them as:

  • Thomas Bredahl—Guitar and vocals
  • Anders Albrektsen —Guitar and vocals
  • Jimmy Nedergaard — Bass
  • Soeren Jensen — Drums

Another as: Thomas, Stauning, Terp, Sogge. Who knows?! Their website isn’t available either.

Tracks

  1. Unconscious souls
  2. The tyranny in good intents
  3. Stop pretending
  4. The white flag help up high
  5. The reason…
  6. Same old street
  7. Stand up and fight
  8. Vacuum of my own
  9. Time to be
  10. Reflection of youth
  11. Watch the cripple dance

Review

When the first track on this album from modern Danish punksters Gob Squad bounced out of my speakers my initial fears about this album were put to rest. Well, for the first 3′ 24″ at least.

‘Unconscious souls’, that opening track, is a tremendous song, and one of my favourite tracks from this project. It has a fantastic guitar hook that bounces along throughout the entire track, taking everything and everyone. The song carries a catchy melody, it has dynamics and movement, and the vocals are sung (not shouted). The perfect pop-rock song.

Sadly, though the album gradually goes down from there. Track two, ‘The Tyranny of good intents’ almost carries an element of the same riff as its predecessor. Track three ‘Stop pretending’ has a disco feel and kind of lost me when the shouting began. The next track ‘The white flag held up high’ begins with pounding drums that put me in mind of early Adam and the Ants.

By this point, however, it’s all become rather punk-by-numbers. The songs morph from one to the next and begin to sound a little same-y, and for me this style of half-shouted vocals just doesn’t work for me. Instead, I find myself returning again and again to track one and wondering what could have been.

Conclusion

I haven’t come across many albums like this, where really I like just one song. But I’m happy with that, to be honest. Artists are free to do what they want, to carve their own path, to play what they like. I respect that. I love their first track, the rest to my ears is mostly disposable.

For that reason I will need to mark the review score fairly low. But, Gob Squad for that first track I thank you. So you get a score that’s the same as my favourite number. That’s got to count for something.

My review score: 45%

Video

The video of my favourite track from the whole album ‘ Unconscious souls’ by Gob Squad.

Unearth — The Oncoming Storm (2004)

Unearth - The Oncoming Storm

Unearth – The Oncoming Storm (2004)

Details

Recorded at Zing Recording Studios, Westfield, Massachusetts. Released on Metal Blade Records on 29 June 2004.

Track listing

  1. The Great Dividers
  2. Failure
  3. This Lying World
  4. Black Hearts Now Reign
  5. Zombie Autopilot
  6. Bloodlust of the Human Condition
  7. Lie to Purify
  8. Endless
  9. Aries
  10. Predetermined Sky
  11. False Idols

Review

In the mid-80s there was thrash. Then there came grunge, followed by alternative metal and by the late 90s nu metal.  Each wave of aggressive metal seems to be followed by a softer, more melodic response

The so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal (NWOAHM) is no different, building on the roots laid down by the likes of Pantera, Biohazard and Machine Head emerged, in part, as a reaction to nu metal — Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, etc… basically the bands that ruined Kerrang! magazine!

I have in my collection my fair share of NWOAHM bands: Biohazard, Black Label Society, Damageplan, Down, God Forbid, Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Machine Head, Mastodon, Slipknot, and Superjoint Ritual. I’d not come across Unearth before until last week.

Unearth are a metalcore band: a cross between extreme metal and hardcore punk, and I’m not averse to a good helping of metalcore. God Forbid‘s last couple of albums have been outstanding, for example.

So imagine my disappointment when I first listened to this album.

The album has all the right ingredients: crunching guitars; crushing riffs; twisting, duelling guitars that sound like a cross between Trivium and Iron Maiden; blast beats and frenzied double-kick drums; and lyrics barked and spat out.

But the music, to my ears, has no soul. It doesn’t move me. It’s clinical and precise and ultimately sterile. And every song sounds like the last, and I’m not kidding either. The opening riffs in “Lie to Purify” are almost identical to the opening riffs in the next track “Endless”.It’s like the album was created using cut-and-paste in Pro Tools.

Conclusion

I’ve listened to this album a lot over the last week. A lot. In the car. On my stereo. On my PC. Last.fm tells me I’ve played 30 tracks. I’ve wanted to like this album… and don’t get me wrong, it’s all right. It’s just not great. It could have been so much more than it is. It feels like Unearth want to be another band (Shadow’s Fall, perhaps? Or God Forbid?) rather than discovering exactly who they are.

If this album comes on again while I’m listening to songs on random play then I would listen, but I doubt I’d go in search of this album specifically. For a metalcore fix I’d be more inclined to go straight to God Forbid.

Review score: 45%

Bonus

Here’s the official video for Endless.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqjkBqvDq6U]