Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Every Mother's Nightmare - Smokin' Delta Voodoo

This badly named Tennessee hair band-era roots metal act moved over half a million copies of their first two albums (combined sales) in the heyday of the do-no-wrong metal days. Back with a badly named third album (using the word Voodoo is as cheesy now as it was then), EMN '01 are a pretty cool cross between Tesla, L.A. Guns, Brother Cane and Jackyl, not too, too southern, but squarely on the roots/sleaze side of L.A. The recording is quite gorgeous, powerful Gunners guitar tones, rumbling drums, a really nice full-bodied match to the band's soulful throwback rock vibe. Rick Ruhl's vocals are a complex, occasionally uneasy cross between Pearcy, Lewis and LeSte, or more accurately a generic clean technician crossed with that gang of intentional and unintentional hacks (I know which are which, do you?). A high quality band with something to say, deserving of better graphics than this cheap presentation proposes.
Rating 7.5

Black Sabbath - Reissues

Part of the "Miniature LP Replicas On CD" series, these reissues look at the Ozzy years in their rock fog completeness. Got the Motorheads earlier on: really, rilly pointless, given the lack of gates and inners with the originals as well as the relentless reissuing of the back catalogue already. But these are fun for the ultimate Sabbathhead. Vol 4 was my first test. Cracked 'er open: yes, the four page insert was there, even if the live shot is washed out. Brilliant! This was treated haphazardly in the original. Some issues got the live shot, some got Tony and Geeza. Technical Ecstasy: the lyric sleeve is now a card insert (maybe it was an insert in the UK?). Sabbath Bloody Sabbath: you get to see the UK naked shot fold-out few stateside ever witnessed (look closely: you'll note that this is when Cozy Powell replaced Tony Iommi for a short spell), as well as the flawed bowing at the center score many gatefolds (mostly reissue gates) were subject to (not intended). By the way, the CD printing itself: no attempt to mimic the original LPs: they just look like a white label promo 45 for no discernable reason. Each comes with a spine (yeah!) and a plastic sleeve (no!), no, 'cos the glue catches the damn cover as you whip them in and out. Oh yeah, back to the beers, I mean, the Sabs. The doomful debut (the first metal proper album eva): the UK gatefold with the upside down cross the band were blindsided by (14 years later, Venom revived the idea). Paranoid: no surprises; the grainy b+w gate is there. Master Of Reality: nice touch, for the embossing is revived, and hot rails to heaven and hell: the poster is back! I'm all wiggles, because I hate to admit this, but I'VE NEVER SEEN THE POSTER! Man, it's like my head just caved in. I need a moment. OK, Never Say Die: inner sleeve is as I bought this as a euphoric new release back in '78 (same day as Saints - Eternally Yours). Credits, no lyrics, are we hiding an uneasy embarrassment due to lack of insight? Last in this time-jumped journey: Sabotage, the best Sabbath album ever, recently confirmed for me in conversation with J Mascis, who aligns himself with my goodly taste on the matter: NOTHING!, confirming for me that I suppose it came with nothing back in ol' Blighty as well. Oh yeah, these are literally eight of the greatest oh, 75 metal albums of all time: you are a dope, nu-metal or old, if you don't own 'em. If you want to touch the hem of the vinyl origin of the left hand path at hand, er, buy these particular configs.
Rating 10

Hard Reviews Page 4