Unida / Dozer
Undoubtedly John Garcia is the initial main reason for the purchase of this, the voice behind Kyuss etc. Though I’m sure that people that are more clued in than I am will be able to tell you that Dozer are legends worth the price of admission. But we’ll get to them in a bit, as first there’s 4 Unida tracks to digest.
The opening track Flower Girl swaggers along, relying on the power of the single riff to carry it through. It's good, but we're on about someone who it would appear is regarded as something of a legend, and I'm not sure it's about to that kind of status. The voice is in fine fettle, but the music doesn't stand out from a whole host of other bands doing this sort of thing. Red is a fine example. Good. Solid. Chorus. But inspiring? Hmmm.
Yeah. Personally I'd like to see one of these stoner bands just loose it for once and go on an apocalyptic thrash session. I know it's all laid back and grooving, baby, but y'know, how about a bit of oomph sometime.
Dozer are a more fuzzy proposition, but still playing in the same area. Again, it's nothing that sticks in the mind to make it stand out from everything else that's out there. It grooves, it rumbles, there's wah wah over the solo, and it still wants a good shaking and pick up of the tempo. And they make the Pantera mistake of having no covering (ok overdubbed) rhythm guitar during the solo, which always makes it sound odd and unbalanced. At least as far as I'm concerned. At least on Calarmari Sidetrip there's a nice gargling effect on the vocals, which is bizarre but at least helps it give more of it's own identity.
This one arrived from Finland, and a bit of a puzzler. Well not really. Kind of feels like a retro which normally isn't really my bag. It's also fused with a more traditional sort of hard rock thing, if I really knew and gave a damn about them, then I think the names Hendrix, Stones, Zeppelin and that sort of thing might be trying to spring towards my lips.At least that's what I'm thinking as Dead & Gone is playing. Though having said all that, the vocals on Runaround remind me of Axl Rose, and that I'm afraid isn't a good thing. On Cowboy Stomp there's more of a mix of the Robert Plant's in there. Still, the music although not special, is a little better than that. It's a formula that they knock through for 11 tracks. Not sure about the train impression that starts Get Down, I kid you not. There's some more mellow jangly moments such as If You Were Here and Anyway, which if the truth is to be told, are probably my favourites.
It all gets a bit much towards the end, with tracks reaching 6, 7 and in the case of the bizarre final track Door, 8 minutes. Lob of about 10 minutes from the album, and it may have really held the attention a bit better than it has. And that last one really does have the Axl's about it.
Overall, hmmm, it's not really my bag, but I don't hate it. Just that in the ever competitive world of what gets played on the stereo when I'm not listening to music to review, and simply listening for the sheer love of it, I'm not sure that this is going to be overworked.
Contact:Magic Wave Kristofer Becker, Kyrkoesplanaden 6 C 15 FIN-65100 Vasa Finland. firstname.lastname@example.org
Neurosis - Times Of Grace
Ooo, I got all excited when this popped through the door and I retired to the bed once more opening the package. And out popped the new Neurosis album. Mmmmm, tasty. Then I remembered I had a thesis chapter to re-write, so I had to get back up and go to work. Such is life. Ups, and then downs.
Bit like Neurosis really. They are a challenge. A contradiction to a lot of things for me. It's long, involved, self indulgent. It challenges you NOT to get up and take the CD off. Yet where others succeed in making me reach for the eject button, without even trying to be awkward sometimes, Neurosis kinda keep me in check. Pinned to the seat. I guess if I wanted to go for the old cliche, it would be like people who are attracted to the scene of a car crash. You know you shouldn't look, but you do. But I ain't going to use a cliche like that! Though I'm sure that the biog thing that accompanied this might in the future. God the people who write those things write a bunch of toss. Even more than I do. But anyway, anticipation has been growing enough, it's time to take the challenge.
Well, my first reaction is either that I've grown stronger in the challenge, or that this is a far more digestible collection of love songs than Through Silver In Blood was (hey joke.) Don't get me wrong, this is prime time Neurosis, difficult, moody, bleak, introspective. But it's more accessible, more melodic in places. The long epic numbers, such as The Doorway, with it's fuzzbomb opening riff, or Under The Surface with it's spartan middle section and The Last You'll Know which hit you one after the other. They often head towards the 10 minute mark. But they're sometimes interspersed by relatively short, instrumental passages, almost like they're trying to provide some light through the mystery that is a Neurosis album. There's even the old bagpipes in evidence there and all sorts of added textures from the viola, cell, trombone and various other bits and pieces. Where others tread the same line for the entire duration of a CD and make it difficult for you, Neurosis make it difficult by going off down various paths. A contradiction definitely. Maybe best shown on this release in the form of Away, possibly the most accessible non-instrumental the band have done. It’s definitely a sombre listen, but relies on atmospherics to crush you rather than the almighty riff. Keyboards, cello, the works. Excellent stuff.
Don't expect to see Neurosis on TOTP. For a start the BBC wouldn’t allow the broadcasting of their visual enhancements used during live performances. Don't even expect them to make any more sense to you, but there just might be some light in the tunnel these days. Makes more sense than that chapter did though before the re-write. And probably after the re-write.
Available on Music For Nations.