Fu Manchu - King Of The Road

"Go on, do it. Go on". ĎDo I have to?í "Yes, you do." ĎOh, ok thení. Look, you know, sometimes Iím a little critical, a tad pissed off with record labels, and pretty much anyone involved in the "industry" except the bands. Ok ok, so I get pissed off with the bands as well. But for all that, I like to think Iíll give credit where itís due, and here it is. You can imagine my surprise when I got home from work and thereís a package from the States. When I open it up, out tumbles a Fu Manchu CD courtesy of Mammoth Records. I get some labels just ignore anything I send them. Some send you stuff for a while and then it dries up. So how surprised am I when a label in America that Iíve never approached, with a relatively name band like Fu Manchu pick up my contact details from the web zine and decide of their own free will to send something? Answer, very surprised. Also grateful, and prepared to say that this particular instance Iím pleased to be proven wrong. In this instance mind you, itís not generally applicable. Anyway, letís hope I like the CD now, cos to be fair the only other Fu Manchu CD that I bought, "Eatiní Dust" was kind of "yeah, síok I supposed" but didnít give me a punch round the chops like it needed to.

Anyway, this one, 11 tracks, 45 minutes. Opener Hell On Wheels is off to a good start already, thereís a decent tempo to complement the fuzzed out warm guitars. Over The Edge starts out on the back of a rock solid drum beat, and itís soon joined by a massive guitar sound - that fuzz is booming there.

King of the Road offers up a Sabbath like riff, and itís at this point that my brain clicks in and connects the fact that "all these lyrics seem to be about Ďthe road and my car ... dudeí and the titles all have a vehicle connection and itís called King Of The Road. Hey, only took me 4 tracks to get there! Must be one of my better days.

No Dice, hmmm, connection? well anyway, more of an AC/DC like groove going on in here - not so keen on that while Blue Tile Fever has almost like a spaced out jam thing going on there. Weird Beard sounds a bit bluesy in the intro, bluesy and retro - one and the same thing? Drive is the best thing on here, showing how good this music can be when they get everything right, pace, riff, hook everything. Great stuff.

Sorry, been a long issue, getting jaded, canít think of things to say about CDs. This is good, I like it. Nothing new, and thatís why itís hard to describe. If you like Fu Manchu, youíll know what this sounds like.

Plus you get a bunch of CDROM stuff, videos and the like, but Iíve not taken a look at them yet, so donít know what theyíre like.

The sticker on the front of the CD says that NME called it a "near perfect record". Personal taste, and I wouldnít go that far, but it is a damn fine release, that puts to rest my thoughts on the slightly dodgy Eatiní Dust.

Available on Mammoth Records.

As I open the package, a couple of sheets fall out. One of which screams "13 track CD album now available". So CICADA have sent me the 5 track tape instead. Ah well, canít win them all.

Anyway, weird one this. Normally I tend to just play "well established stuff I like" in the car - itís just me. But timeís pressing, so I popped this in as I was going to work. And it was like "yeah, itís ok but thereís nothing special here". A reasonable pass on modern metal, with enough throwbacks to "the good ole days" to keep me interested. But then before I realised it, it had been on in the car for a week and Iíd still not reached to put on a different tape. Which kind of suggested to me that I actually like this more than I realise. It really is one of those where asked to describe the song youíve just heard then you canít, but still you enjoy it.

Of course the fact that it has no indication on the tape itself of which side is which makes it hard to identify the songs. Thereís that familiarity of the current metal scene, but enough twists, different things, nothing original, but it keeps it going. Thereís a particularly Metallica Master of Puppets thing going on in one of the tracks in my opinion, and vocally its kept reasonably interesting. Thereís also a few hints of Stuck Mojo in places as well, some nice tempo changes and inspite of the sheet screaming comparisons with VOD, Deftones andTool itís not as blatant as some do. Canít hear the Tool in there at all though personally.

Yeah a strange one, I canít really give any meaningful review on it, yet I like it. Never did understand life me.

The 13 track CD is apparently available for £4 + 80p p&p. Cheques to "Greedo".

78 New Lane, Croft, Warrington, WA3 7JL.


Next one out is by Godstone with a 20 minute 4 track CD called Descension. 4 tracks of heavy, calling in at the usual haunts, and itís not half bad. Standout is the second track System of Confines, which features their best elements, a decent riff and wrapped up in something resembing a song. First track though is Dismissed Faith and the one problem I have with the demo is evident here. The vocals. Theyíre powerful enough, but for this track they choose to kind of half rap (but not in a rap sort of way, you know the way things are phrased) and half shout. It ends up falling in the middle of nowhere, and kind of stunts the overall track for me. There doesnít sound like thereís a natural feeling to the rap like phrases, so I reckon it should be dropped and either shout, or better, inject a touch more melody and sing. Itís so much better when vocalist Russell does sing on Cyclic Protozoan Minds. Final track Killswitch has the obligatory guitar squeaks and an almost mechanical feel to its sound. Itís the sort of thing that could be described as industrial, though to be honest itís not in the least, itís just aiming at that Fear Factory sort of feel. It kind of works, and thereís a nice little time change into a bit of evil guitar - you know the sort, before it drops into an acousticy atmosphere bit. And then thereís a gap at the end, almost a hint of hidden track. Some tomfoolery. Not advisable.

Overall itís a decent enough demo. Thereís some good things going on musically, just maybe needs something to really hook you in.

£5 or 15-dM incl postage in the UK & Europe (thatís what it says Ďere). Cheques to Christopher Shaw. 21 Ellis Crescent, Brampton, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S73 0UG. http://homepages.shu.ac.uk/~cmshaw/