Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Destiny's End - Transition
(Metal Blade)

Beginning with a weak by-rote power metal clanker, Transition quickly corrects and gets serious, pushing Destiny's End up into the ranks of Jacob's Dream and Steel Prophet as US power metallers with a future. The sound here is a bit more scrappy and speedy and cynical, in keeping with the band's classic influences, mainly Helloween and OTT Priest. Texan vocalist James Rivera (ex-Helstar, who's olden spirit is indeed on board) is the main distinction, the man sounding a bit like a Germanic Ripper Owens, leading the white horse gallop with a doomy touch through lyrics that are half conceptual (man vs. technology) and half personal (these for the most part, not written by James). Coolest tracks are the less linear offerings, The Suffering being a distressed and foreboding prog-metaller with a wild monotone vocal, while Vanished is a long mellow piece proving the band capable of taking chances. Elsewhere First You Dream, Then You Die sounds like the best Maiden song not on Brave New World due to gothic uber-Shrapnel riffs, Dickinson stylings and Halford heights. Hmm... if the Three Tremors album is indeed a non-starter, James could fake the whole thing! Do it, buddy! A parody! Heck, you've got the right band for it and everything. Here, let's start writing some lyrics in their styles, and... c'mon net nuts, write James some lyrics, I'm too busy 'else I'd pitch in. Call it Sorta Like The Three Tremors...
Rating 7.5

Various Artists - Only UFO Can Rock Me

Released by Deadline but assembled outside of the label's factory of L.A. hair stalwarts, this is one of Fastway's Lea Hart's UK-based concoctions, a nice change of pace from Deadline's usual fare. And I'd say what we have here is an improvement over the Thin Lizzy abomination perpetrated by many of the same players. Hart's rough, cold production values are prevalent, as always, and Samson's Pete Jupp plays it safe, grooveless and treble-hectic. But once you get used to Hart's preferred and deliberate tin foil sizzle, one can sit back and (somewhat) enjoy these generally cool vocalists doing their thing. Most magical for me is hearing Samson's Nicky Moore on Only You Can Rock Me, as well as Paul Di'Anno corking it roaringly through Shoot Shoot, a good match of man with pint-swilling rocker. Closer is also a treat: Grim Reaper's Steve Grimmett on a precise and Heepy Rock Bottom. Elsewhere, er, I don't know, some of these guys are a little affected. Not a great tribute all in all, mainly due to the safe, tidy, succinct performances and this weird '80s production sound Hart seems hung up on.
Rating 6.5

Hard Reviews Page 3