HardReviews
by Martin Popoff
www.martinpopoff.com

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Fresh Metal

Fozzy - All That Remains
(Fozzy/Ash/SPV)

Man, I mean, Fozzy never sucked, but almost stealth-like, they've developed into a ferocious and potent metal force with a bunch of ingredients that shouldn't be concentrated in one band yet are. Lantern-jawed wrestling giant Chris Jericho is a great vocalist, moving from croon to aggression to slight rap easily and convincingly. Musically, the band does much the same, finding three areas in which to punch out yer lights, one being a cool melodic metal directive that's sort of modern and '80s at once, another being a Black Label-style beating (Zakk guests on proggy masterpiece 'Wanderlust'), the last being that choppy, funky, fangs dripping with blood, iron-pumping rhythmic metal thing musical director Rich Ward handled so well within Stuck Mojo. Somehow, to me, this sounds like all the heavy Metallica songs of the '90s in collision with the first Down record or, I dunno... Scorpions from '80 to '82 twisted here and there by a handful of nu-metal melodies. And you couldn't ask for anything more out of the production job - this is perfect, punchy as all hell, tons of bass, treble slightly distorted, everybody heard hot-breathed and shoving. I shake my head that Fozzy is now a quote unquote indie band, as if the wrestling angle and the old "fake band" angle and attendant reliance on covers did more damage than good. Anyhow, pick this up, although you might have to go to the All That Remains section to get it.
Rating 8.5

Mystic Prophecy - Never Ending
(Nuclear Blast)

Mystic Prophecy have always been seen as a bit of a purist project, less serious than full-on bands doing power, even opportunist. No more, as Gus G. (Dream Evil, Nightrage) and R.D. Liapakis (Valley's Eve) are back solidifying their franchise while speeding up and heavying up in the process. Produced by R.D., this third album from the band is juiced, electric, and a cut above, due to Liapakis' in possession of a wide range, but not afraid to be aggressive and bluesy as well, fitting nicely into the top tier of the new "manly" wave of traditional metal belters. Truth be though, the production is only average, well... "perfect," or perfectly processed, with triggered drum sounds and a high-end predictability that perhaps only truly excels in the guitar department. Still, this record eventually wins the day, in much the same manner as Labyrinth shed their past with the pound of their self-titled. And it's kinda funny, but that "eventually" concept works on this album's temporal plane as well, with the second half of the album busting out creatively, its best tracks being Wings Of Eternity, When I'm Falling and Warriors Of Lies deep into the elbow bending Metalness of it all.
Rating 8

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