"Leadhead's Lounge"

Album Reviews by Shane Copher
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Lower East Side Stitches - Staja98L.E.S.

NG Records
This band's latest has more in common with the punk of the early eighties, than it does the cluttered hardcore scene this label is famous for. "NYC is Dead" delivers a Ramones-like pop chorus, with a taste of attitude reminiscent of the Clash, or the Dead Kennedys. The musicianship is steady on the 14 tracks, with just enough spark to keep you on your toes.

While many of the cuts sport a commercial rhythm, the type that stays in your head long after the disc is done, the songwriting delves into today's social scene with decidedly opinionated views on urban decay and life on the street. "Unload Reload," "Disgusted," "Another Letdown," and the aforementioned "NYC" are the cream of a tasty crop. A very refreshing, if slightly retro, change from the mass-marketed punk fodder.

Snakefarm - Songs From My Funeral

RCA Records
Anna Domino’s haunting vocals take the spotlight on this dark release, oft times reminding me of the early Cowboy Junkies sound. The ten tracks on Funeral all deal with death and depression, and the mood is strongly enhanced with the virtuoso musicianship throughout.

Utilizing everything from accordions and dobros, to some stylishly fiery guitarwork, Snakefarm's talents left me curious as to the lack of original tracks. Although the arrangements are most decidedly fresh, Funeral contains a collection of folk songs and standards, from "St. James Infirmary" to "Frankie and Johnny."

The dark nature of this release will surely limit its appeal, but the strengths of this band are impossible to ignore. I’d highly advise you to check this one out; though its depressing mood is surely not suited to an everyday spin, it fills a niche!

Lit - A Place in the Sun

RCA Records
While this band has been making a big splash on the modern "alternative" scene, and the album getting critical raves, I found it to be a bit on the bland side. There’s no denying the band's talents, but its formulaic sound had me thinking of cookie-cutters. There are a few tracks worthy of praise, including "Down," "Zip-Lock," and "The Best is Yet to Come Undone," but much of this material is likely to get lost in the proverbial shuffle. If you like your modern rock on the safe side, you’ll probably eat this one up; myself, I’d prefer finding a fresher feast.

W.A.S.P. - Helldorado

CMC International
Reminiscent of early albums such as The Last Command, W.A.S.P. returns to their unpolished garage-style metal on their latest opus. Filled with rebellious anthems such as "Damnation Angels" and "High On The Flames," Helldorado is a throwback to the early eighties sounds that made Maiden, Priest, and Twisted Sister teenage idols. No grunge, no techno-squalor, just balls up rock, with screaming guitars, and the raw vocals that Blackie Lawless is famous for. Fans of W.A.S.P. will swallow up this oh-so familiar collection of headbanging fare. Although this disc lacks some of the ambition of their last few outings, it makes up for it with an ample supply of power chords, and songs of sex ("Dont Cry (Just Suck)"), drugs ("Cocaine Cowboys") and rock 'n roll

Monstrosity - In Dark Purity

Olympic Recordings
Black metal in the Slayer vein, with piercing axework, grinding vocals and thundering basswork. Monstrosity are a cut above most of their sinister counterparts, largely due to their strong structuring and intelligently penned lyrics. In Dark Purity is a breathtaking disc. "The Eye Of Judgement," "Dust To Dust," and "The Pillars Of Drear" are among the finer cuts on an album with a host of skull-splitting tracks. With the likes of Cannibal Corpse and Deicide, this band seems poised to fight for a front row seat at the thrash metal altar. Blistering!

Motorhead - Everything Louder Than Everyone Else

CMC International
AAAARRRGGGHHH! 25 classic Motorhead cuts grace this double live CD, and lemmy tell you, this sucker rocks! From antique cuts such as "Metropolis" and "Bomber" to more recent artillery like "Burner," this CD showcases all the power and volume that has made Motorhead the staple of headbangers worldwide. Recorded last year in Hamburg, Germany, it’s very likely your last chance to catch the older tunes live, as since that time, several of these tracks have been dropped from their set list. The band is tight, the crowd sounds frantic, and the pace is exhilarating. Plenty of Lemmy’s trademark intros are included, along with trademark classics such as "Killed By Death," Iron Fist," and "Ace of Spades." If you already have lots of Motorhead in your collection, you’ll still want to snatch this one up, if you don’t own any, what’s your freakin’ problem?! An instant classic.

Solitude Aeturnus - Adagio

Olympic Recordings
On this, the bands fifth release, Solitude Aeturnus have hit their stride. Since catching them live a few years back, this band has been among my fave doom-metal outfits, with a great knack for delivering emotion, as well as just power, and transferring their intensity from the studio to the stage without a hitch. On Adagio, vocalist Robert Lowe excels, dragging the listener through each track with a vice-like grip. John Perez and Edgar Rivera soar on guitar, whether it be tantalizing background riffs or searing leads. The steady rhythms of Wolf Covington and Steve Mosley, on drums and bass respectively, add a thundering intensity to the well-crafted melodies. Dark and brooding, but with the firepower to keep you entranced, SA have a metal classic on their hands here. As an out-of-character bonus, check out the ripping cover of Sabbath’s "Heaven and Hell." A huge diversion in style, but the same stellar delivery.

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