Album Reviews by Shane Copher
Sponsored In Part By
Lower East Side Stitches - Staja98L.E.S.
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
Anna Dominoís 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. Iíd 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
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. Thereís 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, youíll probably eat this
one up; myself, Iíd prefer finding a fresher feast.
W.A.S.P. - Helldorado
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
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
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, itís 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 Lemmyís
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, youíll still want to snatch this one up,
if you donít own any, whatís your freakiní problem?! An instant classic.
Solitude Aeturnus - Adagio
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 Sabbathís "Heaven and Hell." A huge diversion
in style, but the same stellar delivery.