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Expect reviews imminently of: Shallow, Firebird, Queens Of The Stone Age, Spiritual Beggars, sHEAVY, Step Kings, Workhouse Movement, King Prawn, Organ Radio 12, Little Giant Drug, Goatsnake, Queen Adreena and more.

Pitchshifter - Deviant.

Hmm, almost had to take a double check on this. See, a few people in advance tha t had heard some tracks were reckoning that this was going to have a really punk y feel in the music, to the extent that it might alienate some of their fans. So when I first got the CD home from the shop and popped it in, I was expecting so mething fairly different. To me I have to say that it feels very smooth and poli shed, and I guess I was anticipating something a little rougher and rawer. That' s not to say it's a bad thing, just that my initial preconceptions of this album were pretty much shattered on that first listen.

So, for me it took a few plays to adjust. It does feel very smooth, and although there is definitely a bite beneath the sheen, especially in JS' lyrics, vocally it feels relaxed. It's also only a half way step on from the last album. Much has been made of it being "more organic", but those dance techno crossover beats are still there, and the patented Jim Davies guitar swirls, which of course only really became a part of the Pitchshifter sound with his partial involvement on the www album ('cos of course he wasn't part of the band before that.)

Condescension is a cool opener which shows where the bands currently at and typicifes the current sound. Twisty drums, guitar swirls, pretty cynical harsh lyrics, but wrapped up in a huge melody and chorus. It's a pattern that finds itself repeated through a number of the songs, such as Wafer Thin(with a big groove) and Scene This (which has a brilliantly catchy guitar line running through it).

As Seen on TV with the guest appearance of Biafra is the absolute highlight, no doubt about it whatsoever as far as I'm concerned. Both from the musical perspective, (it's kind of like this albums Please Sir - everyone knows it's the best track on the album etc) and from the vocal performances. I just can't help but smile when you here Biafras voice saying those words.

Everything's Fucked is the perfect example of the almost laid back nature of the delivery coupled with the cut of the lyrical matter. Everything's Fucked Again, well those are harsh words my friend is almost drawled by JS, and for me, the manner of the delivery is such that I feel I could almost close my eyes and see it being sung as the hand is swung clicking the fingers. The drawl in fact seems to be a new element to the Clayden delivery, as in Keep It Clean, as Clayden sings "I'd appreciate it very much if you'd just . . . get the fuck off. And I'd appreciate it very much if you'd just . . . leave the fuck alone. And I'd appreciate it very much if you'd just . . . get the fuck away. And I'd appreciate it very much if you'd just . . . DROP DEAD." it almost brings to mind the swagger of Girls Against Boys at their scuzziest. Keep It Clean also features one of the heaviest sounding riffs from PS in a long time.

As always it seems with a Pitchshifter album, they close out with an instrumental, this time it's P.S.I.cological, and although sometimes these tracks haven't done it for me in the past, this one works.

It's an album that for me took a time to grow, partly because as I said, I was expecting something rather different to this. But the testament to it is that it's growing with each play, even after a couple of months. I'm begining to think I really should wait a few months before reviewing any CD. Not cos it covers up my being lazy, but because by then, you've got a much better idea of how good a CD is in your opinion. Some albums sound good initially but wear off so quickly. I'm pleased to say this one looks like it's taking the other direction.

July 5 - Short Reviews.

Ok, time for some short and sweet reviews. Ok, probably not so much sweet. sorry if any bands or labels feel shortchanged by being included in the short reviews - basically these albums have been sitting round for months waiting to be reviewed, and it feels like it's short reviews or nowt at all. And although many may feel nowt is the better option, that's not what's going to happen. But hey, at the moment, I listen to some CDs, but still that Maiden one is pulling me back. You're in a competition to grab my attention at the moment, and the majority are loosing.

GF93 - G.Oetia F.Etish 19.93

The first thing that strikes about this album, is that it sounds like a Coal Chamber derivative. The first few songs seem to follow that kind of blueprint - the sound, the vocals, the dynamics and structures of the songs. Which for me isn't a particularly good thing. The first couple of tracks, Cold Plate and Crisis Fury & The Stab, and also 26 Hammer Blows are typical examples of the current breed of metal music. As the album progresses, from the likes of Breed onwards, and indeed as you listen a bit more, then the similarity wanes somewhat, showcasing more of the bands own identity and use of a more tribal feel perhaps to the drums. Hardships is the overall highlight, more of a poppier even new wave feel to it.

Live there was a similar feeling of the Coal Chambers, and as far as I'm aware, it's a comparison that the band aren't entirely happy with. The challenge for them on the next album then will be to let more of their own identity emerge. Then there may well be more interest in what they have to offer.

Snub - Memories In Richter

The first thing that smacks you round the face when you listen to Snub's debut full length album isn't Choff, which is a bit lucky really. Instead it's the difference in production between this and the bands previous mini-album and demos. The sound in comparison is massive. The second thing to hit you round the face is Choff, which is unlucky. Or at least his vocals and the bitter harsh lyrics that accompany the songs. The material itself falls into the hardcore with a bit of rap and plenty of metal category.

The album itself grabs and caresses you in all the right places, provided this hardcore rapmetal mash is your thing. There's hints of Slayer running through there, and with tracks such as Bloodline, The Cynic, The Rat & The Fist, Arson and Raping Angels, it's obvious that Choff's not always the happiest of bunnies. Though there are some welcome hints at melody as well, as in the likes of Wretched. It's more balanced than a number of albums of this ilk. Exposition-Development-Conclusion is the standout track, in that it just stands out from the rest of the material here, being a complete deviation from the remainder of the tracks, a much more moody ambient piece to relax the listener before the final third of the album picks up where it left off in trying to bludgeon you.

To be honest, this would probably have excited me a whole lot more if had been released 6 months earlier, but I have to be honest in that this general style of music has lost a lot of its appeal to me in the meantime. Snub offer another reminder of why I enjoyed it a lot more before, and so for fans of the ilk, is a well worthwhile addition to the collection.

RoadRunner and Earache back catalogue re-re-re-re-re-re-reissues.

Nope, even if I ever did have them I wouldn't review them on point of prinicple. There's absolutely NO NEED for so many reissues of these albums. No need whatsoever. Cut it out. Stop fleecing the public. And people in the industry ever wonder why people like MP3s.

The Step Kings - Let's Get It On

Dunno, Roadrunner seem to be throwing a lot of new bands into the pot at the moment, which I guess is a good thing. Though sometimes you wonder about the longevity of it all, given the way they just seemed to totally drop hardcore last year and how much is about seeing which one sticks.

As this opens up, the name Zebrahead springs to mind. There's a rap style rhyme to the vocals, the chorus is infectious, the main line being sung, a second vocal going on in the background going "c'mon c'mon". It's catchy and addictive as an opener, and not really the bonecrunching style that to be honest is where RR have made their name in the past. It sets a high standard, which in all fairness the rest of the album doesn't really match. The second track has a naggingly familiar riff running through it. The songs follow a similar pattern, certainly not urging you to turn the CD off, but at the same time not really sparking the "wooooooowwwwwwwowwwwwwwwwwwwwwowwwwwwwww" reaction inside me. Competant but unspectacular. Track 5 is a short sharp shock of a track, better. And the likes of track 8 is good. Like many bands, there's a debt owed to Faith No More in here. If only instead of a debt, some of these bands would come close to equally the majesty and compelling nature of the FNM albums then they'd be worth the effort.

Then, we get the cover. Roadrunner band - cover version. This time it's Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd that's given the "let's hardcore it up for no reason other than, well, let's make it hard heavy, not recognisable from the original, stick it on the CD, after all, it's got fuck all to do with the rest of the album or even the style of the album, but it's a cover, and covers are good, covers are the work of lucifer, they bring us luck, they bring us press, they piss Dave off, let's do it, DO IT." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. How many 'kin times. It's a pile of wank. Even if it's a good version, it's a pile of wank by default these days. Skip, fast forward. Stop wasting my time and the precious space on those CDs with such banal utter wastes of time.

Ahhh, better. Needed that. Been building up inside - thought I was going to get an ulcer for a moment.

Orange Goblin - The Big Black

Oh look, I've got me an Orange Goblin CD. Guess I can finally decide once and for all whether I actually rate this band or not. See live it's like, they're enjoyable, but, the vocals of Ben Ward sometimes let them down and make it feel a bit rough and ready. Some of the "stoner" bands that I like tends to have really great soulful vocalists, Blackrock, Kyuss, Unida, QOTSA, even the likes of Shallow and so on. Plus live they've got some good songs and some snooze songs.

And snooze songs was the first impression overall with this. Yeah, it starts off weel with the grooving riff to Scorponica, but half way through my first listen I find myself looking at the CD expecting it to be almost at the end, it's like time stands still.

But of course, perseverence is key. And after a while? Well, there's still those nagging doubts. Quincy The Pigboy offers up a spacey cosmic opening riff, before putting its head down and going for it full throttle. They're so much better when they don't hang around and bore the shit out of you. Ben's vocals, maybe because it's from the studio, and you can do all sorts of clever things with studios, stand up a lot better than live. It adds the extra dimension of professionalism that I feel they need. Cozmo Bozo and 298 Kg are slower, more spacey. Actually after a few listens they grow more, it's just initially they don't tickle you in the ticklish places. Mind you, track Turbo Effalunt (Elephant) doesn't just tickle, it grabs you and threatens to rip your testicles off if you don't laugh - best be ticklish then. One of their finest moments, its the highlight live as well.

Ah, The Big Black, the 7 minute piece of resitance, sorry, piece de resistance - it always make so much more sense in French doesn't it? Anyway, absolute bollocks the first time you listen to it, too bity, too many disjoint parts, it's one of those things that actually turns from being the absolute horror to the absolute highlight of the album. It's got a slow, grinding coursing riff, sounds like there's some double tracked throaty vocals. And I hate hidden tracks, or whatever, but some great drunken phone messages at the end.

Ultimately? Well, Orange Goblin were in the second division. They made a brave surge for the automatic promotion places, only to miss out and end up in the play-offs where they got to the final, even went to the golden goal. But they blasted the penalty way over the bar, and end up having another season to slog out in Div 2.

Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence

I've spent a while with this album. There's a big buzz about them on the net, almost like the second coming. When I first listened to the album, second coming wasn't what went through my mind. Deftones clone however did. Then, I was at a gig wearing a Human Waste Project shirt and some guy asked me if I'd heard the Glassjaw album. He had, and he thought it reminded him of some parts of HWP, which I have to say is a comparison that I had never even begun to make. So I listened again, and because of this buzz about them. And well, parts of my opinion have changed. They've certainly got some decent songs, they've got the angst melody, fire, subtlety, beauty, aggression angle covered. And there are sometimes where the vocals kind of bring to mind some of the throaty soul moments of the Bad Brains. But for the most part, I can't help but think this is another of the Deftones breed of nu-metal bands. Certainly good, but original? Hardly. Maybe if they'd been about a year earlier in releasing this, because as a band they sound better and more exciting than a whole host of the other imitators. They're in a tight pack at the moment.

Pretty Lush opens up, it's got some nice bass going on in there, and there's a hint of HR from Bad Brains in the vocals, mixed in with the (to my mind at least) fairly obvious Chino comparison. I don't know, maybe things in my mind aren't really helped by the use of Ross Robinson on production who is synonomous now with all things nu. It's actually one of his better, more rounded less tinny productions. When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros is one of the highlights, its actually got a song in there where so many at the moment just have a series of effects. Songs are good. Songs please me. Songs make me happy. Actually, I'm listening to it again as I type this, and things are perhaps begining to make more sense - it's sounding more rounded. Maybe it's just one that will grow with time. Maybe I'm being too quick in judging it. But then you get the likes of Lovebites and Razorlines which just feels so cliched, so nu. So is there a coincidence that it was co-written with the aforementioned Mr Robinson. As is the equally predictable Hurting and Shoving. Stick to your own guns guys. Babe is the obligatory full on for the duration song, it's under 2 minutes. Hard and punky - ish. The title track, whilst introducing more dynamics, also drags quite a bit.

Once again, the short term is covered, the longer term, well, we'll have to see how that evolves. I read a review of the new Infectious Grooves album in Kerrang! recently. It ended with a line something along the lines of - "this is a funk metal album. Only the RHCP survived. Do you remember Mordred? Me neither." Well see, I do remember Mordred, who were a good band. I liked that whole funk metal scene (and hey, Korn ripped a shit load off one of the main protaginists of that movement, Faith No More, so when people go on about the funk bass sound, yet laud praise on Korn, remember, there's funk bass on that first album, by the bucketload). But the point is valid, because although they were good, and they received plenty of praise and "one of the next big things" at the time, ultimately they fell by the wayside because they weren't completely original and they didn't have the ultra special something. And I think that applies equally to the current nu-metal generation - Spineshanks? Static-X. Powerman5000? Dope? There's a whole host hanging on to the coattails. Bands that are praised and good WILL fall by the wayside. At the moment, Glassjaw I feel could be one of a very large casualty list. They've perhaps got the musical potential to avoid it. Will that be enough?

Sunn - 00Void

Uh, ok, um, yeah. This is bollocks. Sorry. 4 tracks, about 15 minutes each. All you hear is rumble rumble rumble. There's no hint of songs, I don't think there's meant to be a hint. It's art. It's clever. I don't get it cos me thick. I don't believe in Emperor's New Clothes, cos for me, anyone trying to convince me that this is in fact good, is doing the musical equivalent of relating that tale. Sorry, if I want to hear an hours pointless boring droning, I'll tape myself talking and play it back to me. I don't need this. Neither I would've thought, do you.

Motorhead - God Save The Queen single

I've got the album somewhere to review. But the single is quicker. It's only two tracks. It's not good. I don't know why Lemmy sounds like he wants to try and impersonate the Pistols, he's got enough character of his own surely, but it sounds lame. Mind you, I'm in a minority of 1 it seems who though respects that the Pistols were important, thinks they were totally overrated in terms of the album. Mind you, I thought Zeppelin were shite as well, so what the fuck do I know- ("ay, go burn yourself at the stake you heretic you!!!!!"). There, that saves you telling me what a twat I am. Not essential.

Apollyon Sun - Sub

This has got a lot to live up to. No, I mean A LOT to live up to. Not only the past and the Celtic Frost heritage that has been covered in great depth in the press recently, I'm talking about the fact that I seem to have been waiting best part of 2 years since their EP was released. And initial thoughts are not good. As I get the silver platter home to put it in the silver platter holder spinner, I read the back sleeve. Two remixes. Gulp. Two tracks from the EP. Gulp gulp. A sub 1 minute track. Gulp gulp gulp. So I've been waiting years for about 50 minutes of music, of which maybe a fifth of which I already know. But of course initial thoughts can be misleading, as was this. It's actually 45 minutes long.

But first impressions are somewhat disappointing. There's nothing here as obviously immediate or brilliant as God Leaves from the EP. But, it has the magical power not oft seen these days, of somehow actually ushering you, compelling you to play the sucker "just one more time". Just one. I don't know why, it's the voices in my head. They say "play me" so I do. I guess they could be saying "pay me", but play is a whole lot cheaper. It's those subliminal messages again. If you're off "corruptable youth" nature, then you'd best be careful.

The music itself incorporates a lot of electronica.That for me can sometimes cause problems, but in many ways it what ultimately helps to make this album. Especially as to be honest, if it was a guitar album, it would be disappointing. The riffs aren't that groundbreaking, but it's the context in which they're played, and the overall style and effect of the album, and in that respect, although maybe not groundbreaking, they're certainly making a spirited charge to the front of the pack and making themselves noticed.

Dweller and Reefer Boy (remix) open the album. Full of samples, electronica and dance beats, there's also a quiet menace beneath the surface in the vocals. The death grunt is gone (for the most part), replaced by an almost whispered spoken style. Hushed tones, that is actually far more evilly atmospheric and effective. But the highlights lie in the even trippier moments. Messiah is apparently a reworking of a Hellhammer song, but I'm afraid I never went that far back. There's a death grunt in there, but it's full of trip hop and beautifully atmospheric instrumentation.

The absolute hightlight for me is Slender. Not in any way heavy at all, it's got a gentle acoustic intro, that kind of reminds me of the acoustic intro to Queensrycjhe's Suite Sister Mary (I love coming up with those preposterous links that people will choke on, but hey, that's how it sounds to me, if it doesn't for you, then weyhey!). It then gives way to layer upon layer of lush keyboards and orchestration. It's like ambient music, totally relaxing, not a bit heavy, yet the spoken word vocals add a fierce menacing edge. Wonderful stuff.

They band also show an unexpected sense of humour with the inclusion of R.U.M. which features Xavier Russel - the old Kerrang! journalist who championed them (and Metallica way back in the days) doing the death grunt that he labelled. R.U.M - R U Morbid. Ah yeah, humour in these here dark days.

It'll be interesting to see what the purists make of this album, as for the most part, it's abandoned the metal and death metal ground to explore new territory. Hopefully it'll be accepted for that, and for the knowledge that Celtic Frost broke ground in a similar way. More interesting will be to see how they manage to perform this live. Now that should be interesting. An album that rewards you the more you persevere.

A Perfect Circle - Mers de Noms

Honest part first. I bought it because of the vocalist. You know who. The wrong reasons in many ways, but also if people are being honest, the only reason for probably at least 90% of the initial audience for this CD. Let's get the next part out of the way. For me, this sounds very little like Tool. There are elements perhaps, but that's as much possibly your consciousness trying to make links for the brain. We all like something comforting and reassuring to cling on to. And there ends the T comparison.

This is a really good emo styled album. There's definitely moments of familiarity in there. There are times the name Far springs to my mind right from the brooding opening track, though there are moments akin to say the Smashing Pumpkins in there as well. And it's the vocals that help escalate it to the next level, though that doesn't mean that the music takes second place. There's some great moments here, the opening to Magdalena, which has just a great guitar tone going on in there, the gentle acoustic pickings of Rose married with some distorted guitar scraping like noises, it marries beauty and the beast almost, and a delicate vocal from that blokey. In fact it's the gentler moments that shine the brightest here. Another highlight can be found in 3 Libras, a wonderful vocal melody that leads into the chorus, the key in the whole album is melody. The likes of The Hollow and first single Judith are a bit more obvious, in your face tracks, without being heavy. A hint of a grungey feel in the guitars,

It's not an instant album, not to me anyway. There is a degree of perseverence required, as the majority of the songs don't smack you round the face with the "instant" stick. But it's another album that rewards with more listens. There's been a few of those this year, and it makes such a wonderful change to all the instantaneous fix albums, that ultimately loose their appeal all too quickly. Just don't go expecting the T band.