HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Ill Nino - The Under Cover Sessions
(Ill Nino/Cement Shoes)

These Latino modern metal veterans haven't gotten the exposure they deserve, given years spent writing through an exotic blend of Latin rhythms, guitar textures, and post-Seps metal riffery. Here we get a five-track EP housed in a nice digi. Two tracks are originals, 'Arrastra' being a little too nu, but 'Reservation For Two' somehow being even more commercial but really damn cool - I particularly dig the weird Latin jam halfway through. Covers-wise, Peter Gabriel's 'Red Rain' is a natural, Ill Nino writing some metal riffing for it, arranging obtusely, and adding their ubiquitous Latin percussion. Nirvana's 'Territorial Pissings' gets more of a standard punk rock out. Faith No More's awesome 'Zombie Eaters' features Chino Moreno, and is tight and progressive, but quite faitful to the original, save for again, the bongo madness - I'm not sure this is necessary as often as they think so...
Rating 6

Marc Sico - Before Kiss: A Pre-"Kiss"Storic Journey
(Sico Productions)

Totally a home video, Before Kiss follows three fans with a jerky hand-held cam as they drive around New York looking for Kiss sites. They don't care much for proper filming, bouncing around, shooting too tight etc, varying sound levels, but their enthusiasm (New Yorker on top of Kiss on top of New Yorker) actually holds your attention - you want to see if the search for Peter's childhood home is yet another dead end. The Coventry - torn down, The Diplomat - replaced by retail, but you do get to see Paul's apartment building, everybody's high schools, hang-out spots, Electric Lady studios; and the guys proclaim their love for the light post featured on the cover of Dressed To Kill. Quite the study of fandom, and before long, you find yourself happy for them and the time spent by you - these guys are your new friends. But believe me, they are in no hurry. You get to watch them parallel park, take exits, explain in detail how you're about to see... nothing. Added stuff, interviews with fans and one pleasant lady who knew Paul as a kid. Best bit is an attic bedroom ooh and aah session with Kiss collectibles - posters, mags, shirts, albums with their bits intact, a Kiss game and a Kiss radio. But man, even this... there's no urgency to move it along, no editing. This disc moves at the pace of life, real time, and you end up sucked into the vortex of whiling away 90 minutes with these three very likeable dudes. Obviously, you can't rate something like this too highly; it is in fact the most casual DVD I've ever seen, although some effort is made with background music and chapter titles. Bottom line - it's terrible, and I totally enjoyed it (having my own issues with extreme fandom to deal with, and seeing that I'm not alone). One note - the guys missed a golden moment with that quick flash at the radiator in the corner of the loft... a quote from 'Cold Gin' would have been in order! See www.myspace.com/beforekiss for more.
Rating 5

Hard Reviews Page 4