HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Ten Years After - Now
(Ten Years After)

If you're going to have a hole in your lineup (this one's iz no Alvin Lee), Ten Years After and Now demonstrate the textbook way to fill it. Basically, the oldsters (Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill and Ric Lee) are joined by a guitarist named Joe Gooch and have never looked back. The shows all o'er Europe have been packed and Now shows why - Ten Years After have turned in a very professional album framed on a bit of balladry and a bit of raucous blues but all is toughened up almost as if this were a band trying to re-compete in the age of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, like say Budgie or Heep or more in line, Wishbone Ash. The performances are cookin', Ten Years After sounding like a cross between The Lizards, Vanilla Fudge, Pat Travers and the new Mahogany Rush, of course, also gathering up the complicated set of flavours the old band was known for over their span. Pleasantly surprised, although I can't rate too highly (especially in a hard rock forum) because there isn't much you can do with blues, plus there's a certain frequency missing in the mix... somewhere toward the treble end of things, in and around vocals, guitar and maybe cymbals. Strange. But the rockers are damn inspiring, raving, funky, and a few of the lighter experiments (most notably Long Time Running) lean toward the progressive southern rock of Little Feat. Bloody versatile though... I mean, you can tell this is a classic rock record that will keep revealing cool little sophistications for months on end. See www.tenyearsafternow.com for more.
Rating 7.5

Hanzel Und Gretyl - Sheissmessiah

Touring with Ministry has found this buzz band inciting the masses, often stealing the show, especially over Thrill Kill Cult. Fact is, the band are a great package, looking like a co-ed cross between Coal Chamber and a Hitler rally, grinding out a super-heavy amalgam of Psalm 69- and current sound-Ministry plus, unavoidably, Rammstein, topped with Angela Gossow-like vocals from Ministress Of Information Vas Kallas. Pounding robotic riffs all day all the time accompany all sorts of twisted White Zombie-like effects, barked German orders (there's English too), all to a bed of mostly real drums, or quite treated drums by a real drummer - this is the band's most organic/human album of the four so far, but, thankfully, also the heaviest and grooviest. Vivid, plush cover art, booklet, logo and album title complete the seductive package.
Rating 7.5

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