HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

The Bee Made Honey In The Lion's Skull (Southern Lord)

One is reminded of being suckered into buying the Robert Crumb letters book, Your Vigor For Life Appalls Me, where the best quote in all of those letters was used up in... the title. One can also draw parallels to the excellent new book out on the No Wave movement, no wave being angry, crappy, utterly (also) used up post-punk from New York. Love the production, and a few cool things can be salvaged from this sludge/doom instrumental cure for insomnia, such as the ethereal Chroma Key-like melody of 'Miami Morning Coming Down II (Shine)' but for the most part, enjoyment is used up after following along boozily with a few guitar solos and wondering how they got such a cozy, gauzy, comforting drum sound. Piano is a nice touch - a real texture unifier, not a divider - as is the surprise guest slot by snobby, patches-on-the-dinner-jacket six-stringer Bill Frisell. But serious, I mean really serious, Earth could have doubled the speed of the whole thing and all the ideas would still have come through with no information overloaded and then lost, sketchy integrity intact.
Rating 5

Secrets And Lies (Candlelight)

Second record for this Welsh trio, and man, what an impressive pile of large boulders rolling down on your moon roof. If you like your stoner rock crushing, heavy and hoary, this is for you, Taint (taint stoner and taint sludge and taint hardcore neither, son) competing with Spice, Spiritual and Clutch but adding an artful noise element and an Entombed Viking vocal (free band name for you, son). Significant that Alex Newport produces, because there's that Earache-my-eye punk terror vibe shoving and jostling the listener here. The smarts have gotta come from the fact that the band comes up from a bit of an orphaned non-metal Helmety stream roots- and biz-wise, because the rules of dope-smoked doom are not followed here, just like grunge or the fecund creative period of the Relapse roster as it impressed in the mid-'90s. I suppose that all just means "sludge," but this is not boring.
Rating 9

Hard Reviews Page 5