Hard Reviews
by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Aerosmith - Just Push Play

This band pretty much annoys everybody now, the press, their old fans, Super Bowl fans... they are simply the most out-of-touch, atmospherically corporate raft of rockers on the planet, making what are the most complicated records to stake even tenuous claim to originating from within a guitar band. Still, Just Push Play, while it is my least favourite Aerosmith album of all time as well as the least rock and most commercial, is a fun spin when you chuck your baggage, their baggage, and just, er push play. The band desperately want to stay current, current to them being amongst chart toppers, whether those folk be boy bands, rappers, divas... doesn't matter. We want into that club. Which is a despicable character trait, true, but it results in something fresh, shiny, full of studio marvel, events every ten seconds. Toward that end, we get Jaded, which sounds like Everclear (bad verse, good chorus), three metal songs in the dino-Zep of Beyond Beautiful and the album's two lonely humanoid moments, Light Inside and Under My Skin, both actually sounding like signals and noises coming from a band. Elsewhere, they've gunked-up and tricked us so much with guitar sounds, vocal effects, Satanic robots like Marti Frederiksen and Mark Hudson (who, like invisible spores, figure in the writing of ALL the songs), that you practically can't tell which songs are the yukko ballads and which are just some weather pattern-capable mainframe's idea of a chart-shredding pop song. As well, there's hip hop, a bit of rap (Tyler milking his ties to that world for all they're worth), diva slop like Fly Away From Here and Luv Lies, and a few quite enjoyable hard pop songs like Dude Looks Like A Lady-nephew Trip Hoppin', or Sunshine and closer Avant Garden, both more like power ballads but blessed with melodies besotted with an integrity that the old Tyler might have discovered way back before Permanent Vacation, that fateful day the band decided they would become nothing more than conduits of American fame culture. But still, I don't know, maybe because most of the artists I listen to have burned a historic Norwegian church at some point in their youth, or don't tour Canada because they can't make it over the border, I find myself appreciating the joie de vivre in this youthful collection of songs that plainly tries really, really hard to spend lots of money in order to make you, the chump on the street these men would be loathe to rub platinum shoulder pads with, ignorantly happy for five minutes.
Rating 6

Diesel Machine - Torture Test

When not scorching through traditional metal anthems as guitarist for Halford, Pat Lachman has his own much heavier, five years runnin' act back in L.A. called Diesel Machine. Alas, they are Pantera clones, staring down the extreme rhythmic end of that barrel, which makes sense given that hotshot Schenker/Uli Jon Roth drummer Shane Gaalaas is also on board, matching Lachman, vocalist A.J. Cavalier (World Of Pain) and Devilution bassist Rich Gonzales (OK, consider them both unknowns) dry for dry, to a man with each of their Pantera doppelgangers. That's all there is to say really. No special talents here or improvements on Pantera or their other clones, other than maybe the fact that this is a little harsher, hardcore, deadened and rhythmic... you know the drill, and you know by now whether you want this or not.
Rating 6

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