Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

TKO - In Your Face & Up Your Ass
(Metal Mayhem)

Brad Sinsel always struck me as a doomed and shambled cross between Mike Monroe, Andrew Wood and Ace Frehley, apparently the man being fond of his drink (must talk to the boy one day: email me!), leading his legendary Seattle contingent through three nowheres albums of hot rock bravado before evaporating from the scene. This is the reissue of the best and second (In Your Face), apparently "the unwatered down" version, although all I can tell is that the recording or remixing or hacking up or pressing is severely flawed, simply extra distorted. Still no matter, you get used to it, and what a great album it was, Sinsel one of the great rawk vocalists of all time, these songs sounding like a kick up the brittle pelvis of Eddie Van Halen. But this casual pak is a 2 CD set, adding on CD1 two (very) basement versions, a couple of live tracks and then on CD2, a whole awful live album: awful sound, unraveling but inspired performances, fitting for a band that I vaguely remember as digging their own grave. The booklet is bad too, but a good bad, an explosion of chaos 'n' wisecracks, photos and tosser testimonial. And with a title like that, I don't think the planned placement was front-racking at Walmart. Rating of the set as is, er, maybe a 2, given what it tries and fails to accomplish. Call it an 8 though for the reason that this is the only way to get this album on CD right now. Hence my averaging to a 6, plus 1 for the doggy, dodgy live spoo. Suggestion: spend a hun plus ten for a turntable and a vinyl copy.
Rating 7

Various Artists - Welcome To The Aerosmithsonian
(Perris)

Proving time and again that the emperor has no clothes, the world's most boring drummer Carmine Appice (edging out Cozy Powell) tip-taps this awful tribute into the ground with his towering lack of imagination. I mean, listen to his Walk This Way: the man can't even groove. Come on! Joey Kramer is not rock science! Of course, he gets no help from the behaved and flat-out brain-dead accompaniment, neither the usually quite talented Jason McMaster or Lita Ford guitarist Steve Fister speaking up about the doomed deliveries flying like delete bin shrapnel all around and inside of them. And if these three Perris pulseless (listen to their Sweet Emotion, yechh!) were supposed to sit back and let the "vocalists" shine, well, bad move. Sadly, one of my heroes, Ted Nugent's Derek St. Holmes is still stuck in the '70s, when competing hard just didn't matter. That's just style, something he has control over. Plus, I think his voice is going. Ron Keel? Luv those "BACK" in the saddle screams, which basically aren't there, because he wimps out. The worst, I mean the worst, ever, worse than any song ever out on any label, is Paul Shortino's deplorable and out of tune Rock In A Hard Place. I mean, why would he even pick this song, let it be released? Why would he continue lead singing in 2001? One small positive here is that half the vocalists at least have semi-interesting voices and get to the end without embarrassing themselves. But man, all told, this sounds like a talentless hair band that couldn't get signed in 1989 one-taking a bunch of demos in Mama Kin's garage. And not only can they not play above minimum requirements, they can't think, imagine or dream on their way out of a wet paper bag.
Rating 2

Hard Reviews Page 5