Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Various Artists - Overload 2: Tribute To Metallica

I almost ripped this thing out of my temperamental office CD player in disgust (that machine itself must die) after the dismal crap tones of Mystifier and Krabathor, but then Dutchmen Solarisis kicked my ass with a proggy Swedish thrash version of Nothing Else Matters, a vast improvement on the soundcheck arrangement of the original. Moving on (must we?), New Eden get all Sanctuary on us, Last Chapter blow with a thin unimaginative Escape (nice drum sound, not), Soulless play it totally straight and then put a crack crap black vocal overtop (break out the pinwheels), Noctuary do sorta the same pointless thing with Leper Messiah, as do >From The Depths. Man, let me out. The rest is pretty much the same thing: just barely inferior productions (and usually quite inferior drum sounds, especially snare), the instrumental show clinging to the original, vocalist doing the death thing. Winner by a Load: Solarisis, second place, New Eden, then nothing else matters.
Rating 2

Gary Moore - G-Force, Dirty Fingers, Live At The Marquee

Skid Row (the old one)/Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore wasn't much of a hit over in these parts, save for a brief spot in the metal boom and later in the blues boom, but it's cool to hear once again, a few of the albums that a) were among his best, b) among his heaviest and c) had the flimsiest distribution/release situation in North America. An odd type of guitar hero, Moore was known for pubby street-level riffs and an attendant retro soloing style, which again, later blossomed into an impressive career, at least overseas casting Moore as a sort of Clapton-like figure. These records however are thankfully caught up in the NWOBHM, first G-Force rocking smartly, in context of 1980, containing a perky new wave vibe while still showered with guitars. Live At The Marquee and Dirty Fingers are stuck in the hoopla of the metal resurgence and gamely participate, although the man's pop sensibility cannot be quelled. As songs, most of the material is dated, vaguely pint-faced likable but not godly or classic. But the soloing is really quite a treat, of course recalling Lizzy but also Samson and less European Schenker. Each release features an intelligent, detailed and mood-enhancing essay from Classic Rock's Dave Ling.
Rating 7.5, 7, 6.5