HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Coney Hatch - Coney Hatch
(Rock Candy)

Legendary UK metal scribes Dante Bonutto and Derek Oliver continue to pursue more than capably the helmsmanship of their hard rock reissue label, the yummy Rock Candy Records. The latest wave includes AOR obscurities by Billy Squier, John Waite and 1994, with Coney Hatch the heaviest of the fussy, fun foursome, this being the first of three albums from the band, issued in 1982 on Anthem, third in a foodchain that reads Rush, Max Webster, Coney Hatch, then Wireless. The album was a minor hit, due to Hey Operator being a minor hit, and its sound was a uniform melodic metal churn, sort of Aldo Nova and Santers meets Krokus. Irresistible was the band's two guitar arrangements, most prevalent here in No Sleep Tonight. Elsewhere, Steve Shelski re-creates a Charlie Parker solo on the trundling, AC/DC-like Monkey Bars, while We Got The Night burns up the road like a Winnebago on its way to Winnipeg with Anvil and Kraken. You absolutely could not ask for more from a reissue booklet. As writers are wont to do, there's a lot of writing, all of it useful and good. The story of this album is thoroughly made clear, with lots of visual rock candy along the way in the form of awesome, thought-lost memorabilia and live shots. Three bonus tracks are also on tap, each a well-recorded non-LP original that sucks.
Rating 8.5

Clawfinger - Hate Yourself With Style
(Nuclear Blast)

Sweden's Clawfinger never had much of a North American presence, the band's profile here biggest when their Deaf Dumb Blind debut back in '93 was busy selling 600,000 copies worldwide, almost all of that in Europe. The band's domain then was well-written industrial rap metal, and oddly, tailings of both the rap-ness and the industrial remain, the former in vocalist Zak Tell's berating (Danko Jones-like?) lippy-ness and the latter in the charged guitar sound, the general electricity of all the tones, and the often stiff, efficient rhythms. And it's still well-written, Clawfinger going for catchy structures, along with memorable catchphrases and brave forays into sexual politics via The Faggot In You and Right To Rape, Tell attacking homophobia and women's rights with style and an obvious predilection for shock. Turning detriment to advantage, Clawfinger has always been about taking an essentially American style and applying eccentric, even erroneous Swedish wrongness to it - like Therapy? and Bush trying to be grungy, like Midnight Oil trying to do whatever the hell it was they did. The end result is a sour zaniness that turns off many. Indeed, by persisting with their weird, rappy, hardcore, nu-is-old time inversion, they leave themselves wide open for criticism. Fortunately for my mild enjoyment of the band, I have in my hip-pocket the fact that I totally bought into the band's sound via the first two records, remembering with amusement a time when metal was searching left and right for new avenues.
Rating 6.5

Hard Reviews Page 5