Ok, so now I'm beginning to receive some stuff from labels and whatnot, it means I have more stuff to review. Which means some of the reviews will be shorter. Yeah, I know, "Thank God" goes the cry. Yeah well, some will some won't. But just to say the length of review doesn't necessarily indicate whether I like a CD or not. It's whether I can think of much to write. Sometimes it's just music, and how much can you say there even when it's great or utterly shite. Other times it may hit a nerve, or I just have stuff to say which might be related to the CD. So the review gets long. So, that was supposed to clear things up, but probably made it even more murky. Ah well, in good old "can't think what to say" fashion, fuck it.

Terra Firma - Terra Firma (SPV Records)

God, what a shite name for a band. Sorry, but this CD went into the player with immense trepidation based on the name. I know, prejudice in advance, but I still reckon we all do it. Anyway, it is a shite name cos it may put people off checking out a well worthy band. This is the new release from the ex St Vitus frontman and is a Sabbath influenced gem. And then it struck me that maybe that's the reason for the name. Terra Firma = Earth = Original Black Sabbath name. See trivia buffs, these things don't always get past me, though sometimes I do have to run after them to catch up. Anyway, the opening riff to Rainbow Ride had me thinking Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and so that allowed me to dispel the doubts about the name and just enjoy this for the music. Which is what you should do. And that voice does remind you of the Ozzmeister. Before he struggled and became the entertainer that he is today (and I mean that in the best possible way). ...And The 8th Seal Was Her's features a guitar melody long since thought dead in some parts whilst Seperate Grave starts off with a great acoustic passage. Well worth checking out for the Sabbath fans.

Grip Inc - Solidify (SPV Records)

Now you know I'm partial to the odd drop of Slayer, but in spite of the man Lombardo's efforts in the band, I'd never bothered to buy any of the Grip Inc albums, and the reviews never inspired me. So, when this dropped through the letter box, it was my first chance to cast an eye over them and give a verdict.

And it's not really overly inspiring I'm afraid. There's nothing inherently bad here, but I really can't imagine wanting to reach for this very often thinking, "ooh, I must hear that".Vindicate is a good example. It's a song that on first listen has some nice elements, nice chunky riff, the keyboards that are used are sufficiently restrained, and it's pretty good. But the songs gone now and that's ok. The one thing that does stick in the mind, is the Flamenco guitar intro of final track Bug Juice.Unfortunately that's followed by a bit of a drum solo, and no matter how great a drummer Lombardo is, there is no excuse for anyone ever giving a drum solo. Or bass solo, or guitar solo for that matter.

Ultimately for me it's difficult, though unfair, to listen to this without thinking of Lomabardo's past in Slayer. And in that respect, it just doesn't match up.

Final Tragedy - Trial Of Tears

Emerging from France, I'm not sure if you'd call this 4 track CD a demo or EP. Certainly the band are looking for a deal, so it's all self-financed etc, and it's superbly presented. Full colour insert the works. But what about the music? Well, they describe it as "progressive metal", which strikes a little bit of fear into me. And I'm afraid my personal fear was justified. A throwback to a few years ago. This is pomp metal, lots of keyboards (too many, they drown things a bit too much) and a synthetic feel to the music. The songs themselves are all around the 5 minute mark, and go through a number of twists and turns, which in itself makes a change from some stuff that just revolves around one riff these days. Best track on here is Cold Sun. But it falls outside of my listening spectrum for the most part. Progressive is the word, and if that doesn't strike fear into you, then it may be worth you checking this out. But it’s not really the sort of thing that gets me going.

Contact: Final Tragedy c/o Delphine Cochand, 1 bis, rue du Chêne, 25230 Dasle, France.

Web Site:

CIV - 13 Day Giveaway (Atlantic Records).

Aye, I know it’s quite old now, but it was on import price before, and that kind of price is a place you don’t want to go too often if you can help it. But now it’s affordable, and so time for a review. The debut, So Far ... was a bit of a classic really. Simply catchy songs, with great energy, and a superb live show. On first few listens, 13 Day just doesn’t live up to those standards. You search around, in fear, because you’re looking for an alternative to the word that strikes fear in music listeners ears. And the word is, maturity. Yep, this sounds more mature, and as such, it tends to lose the vibrancy of the debut. And they’ve gone for the bleeding hidden song syndrome, even if it seems to be a rather amusing little crack at the grunge scene.

The other great thing about CIV was their live gigs. Well, I can hope that they’ve not lost it there as well, cos this doesn’t do much for me at all. Shame.

Skarhead - Kings At Crime. (Victory Records)

Within seconds of this starting, there’s a sense of “here we go again” as KAC No Competition, Once Again I’m on a motherfuckin’ mission, Killing and chilling, that’s all we do, hardcore villains from the DMS crew, representing the borough of Queens, do what we have to do, know what I mean is screamed through the speakers. And inspite of the background of the band, and the impressive list of guests appearing on the album (SOIA, Madball, Agnostic Front, H2O and more are represented), you think, NYHC cliché. Which isn’t helped by titles such as Hardcore and Brooklyn Queens Experience.

Fortunately, in spite of these kinds of reservations, this is essentially a good NYHC record and having 3 vocalists gives it a nice twist. Better for me than the disappointing CIV at any rate. I guess it rates as more of an “old school” style record. Sure, I can hear metal in the riffs, but vocally, although gruff, its shouted and you can make everything out, not like some of the acid swilling style on more “new school” stuff. I can deal with both (just), but this does make it more listenable. And the songs are distinguishable from each other. Highlights for me are the CIV / SOIA like singalong of Skared Love, Going Back To Cali and Dogs of War. Good stuff.

Available on Victory Records