by Shane Copher
END OF THE LIGHT
Rich, full sound; heavy rock with a slight industrial edge. The sound is original, the beat is solid, and the songs are very strong. END OF THE LIGHT is a "Release" worthy of attention. "Idiot Box" and "Drown" are particularly tasty. Crank this one!
From the moment I read the liner notes and promo that accompanied this debut record from Combine, I got the distinct feeling that this band does not take itself too seriously... I did. This is an excellent release that's really fun to listen to. The playing is tight, the songs are light, and this album has a sound all its own. The rhythms range from medium to heavy, the lyrics are at times comical, and the production has that "live" in the studio feel. College radio will eat this up! Try it out at your next dorm party... FUN STUFF.
STANDING ON THE EDGE
Not only has John Berry managed to avoid the sophomore jinx, but he has released a stronger album than last year's debut. John's tenor handles the ballads flawlessly, and this LP contains a lot of them. "You and Only You" and the title track have already topped the charts, and I can see at least two more tunes capable of following suit -- "If I Had Any Pride Left At All" and "I Think About It All the Time." There are some uptempo songs here as well, and John does a nice job on them, but the slow stuff is definitely his bread and butter.
The material contained here is tailor made for crossover success, as the only thing keeping it "country" is the steel guitar. The ability to reach listeners outside the country format will make this an even larger selling album than it is already destined to be.
These tracks ooze aggression. The playing is tight, the pace is quick, and the drumming is rock solid and in your face. Cool songs; good delivery; clean production. This is a real quality release which is sure to garner attention on a major scale. Plenty of choice cuts. "Body Hammer" and "Zero Signal" lead the pack. Strong stuff.
Souls at Zero
A TASTE FOR THE PERVERSE
From that hotbed of musical talent, Baltimore(?), this sophomore release from Souls at Zero stokes the fire they lit on last year's debut. The bass throbs, the guitars spark, and the vocals combine power and conviction while bordering on frenzy.
Good songs, great tempos, powerful rhythms; A TASTE FOR THE PERVERSE will certainly agree with you. The album opener "Undecided" and "Cold" are the cream of a good crop. Check it out.
THE SPIDER'S LULLABY
Metal Blade Records
After the release of TIME with Mercyful Fate, King Diamond jumped right back in the studio to work on this project. The first six cuts here are typical fare for anyone familiar with the King's work -- theatrical metal with dark overtones. The final four cuts are a "mini-opera" of sorts, and, while musically more interesting, the lyrical content slowly slips away into nonsense. This album was rushed, and it shows. Nothing special.
Much heavier than their earlier efforts, this release is closer to Pantera than Priest. New vocalist Daniel Conca comes from the growling school, and the rhythms are in your face. The material is strong, the playing is solid, and the production is good enough to go unnoticed. DISSIDENT ALLIANCE places Jag Panzer somewhere between Flotsam & Jetsam and Testament. It had me bangin', and that's a good sign!
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