Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Onward - Evermoving
(Century Media)

Very similar in '80s metal madness to James Rivera's Destiny End, US power metallers Onward sport a distinctive, luv 'em/hate 'em vocalist in Michael Grant (think Hammerfall/Virgin Steele), who, as with most bands who become big, finds himself sharing center stage with an axe wizard in Tony Knapp who is a firestorm of razor-sharp riffery wound tight like a crackhead fistfight with Randy Rhoads and Yngwie. Knapp is a Wyoming-based protˇgˇ type who caught the attention of power metal guru Dennis Gulbey and his Sentinel Steel label after rocking out on Shrapnel with a shred record. Anyway, Gulbey struck a deal with Century Media for the release of this band project, and there you have it: kick your cheesy metal self silly, because it's all here in weird, frantic, overly serious rustbelt, bulletbelt, belt one back metal glory. So beholden to the metal gods, as is the case with many Americans charting these waters, Onward make sure there's a barroom bash to their sound, just this small buzz of desperate accelerating alcoholic chaos that shows they mean it, "it" being self-important traditional metal shaped and sculpted for traditional reasons: to impress male players and to impress female gurls, both of a nearly extinct nature, few and far between but nevertheless skulking in the subculture. Success on both counts. Rating 7.5

Various Artists - An Industrial Rock Tribute To Judas Priest
(Deadline)

Methinks these things exist just to rile the increasingly Perry-skunked mullets of Priest fans, and ooh boy, mission accomplished. I actually got a kick out of the one time I played (and will ever play) this thing (and maybe in a Napster pay-to-play age, fast food is an acceptable proposition). But the repellent itch comes in waves and all over. First, as industrial goes, this is rote and unimaginative, although granted, a true overhaul of these songs (Rock Forever: geez!). Second, the draw of having all these unwashed hair band vocalists take a crack (pipe) at these songs... well, in the industrial spirit, they are mixed way back and beat up with distortion and such. I mean, I think Phil Lewis on Hot Rockin'... that might be the worst recording of a vocalist I've ever heard. Oh whatever. I am tiring of writing this review, and if you've got any self-respect, you should be tired of reading it.
Rating 2