HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Sexual Savior (Kachina)

Neal Smith, known in their world as the Rock 'n' Roll Realtor and our world as drummer in the classic Alice Cooper band lineup, is back with a perplexing, decadent, rumbling noisy album and band concept sure to ruffle some feathers. How can I describe this? Well, the guitars are gut-bucketed, and for that matter, so are Neal's vocals and even his drum production, down a Jack Endino/Steve Albini dark alley toward another little known 'kill' band, Killdozer. Or maybe Godflesh and Butthole Surfers. And then Neal turns in colourful, plentiful, wildly entertaining, sex and violence-drenched lyrics, in a sort of ragged, admonishing, world-weary bark, the voice of a man resigned to hell. To be sure, there's some Alice Cooper to this, but also The Cramps, Snowy Shaw's under-rated Notre Dame project, Bronx Casket Co. and even Gwar. Not sure I can embrace these repugnant frequencies with any sort of "pleasure," but I do find myself drawn to its resolute, amusingly imbecilic lope - there's a weird navel-gaze to Smith's unrelenting beats. And I'm impressed by the bravery of, well, about 666 aspects of this, the most abstract and arty being the crackhead drum sound and the choice to go completely ego-less, Smith turning in a simple bash, the only line possible for such stark musicks. My grade is completely un-utilitarian, in that I'm likely in a lonely spot - most people are either going to hate this, or conversely be completely sucked into Smith's hedonistic, junk-strewn, doomed to damnation world created.
Rating 7.5

Active - Under My Hat: Volume 1 (Bullseye)

If you're a fan of these grinding barsy Toronto legends from the late '70s, you need this package, Under My Hat consisting of a 1976 and a 1977 live set on two discs, totaling 32 tracks. Now, neither sounds all that great, these essentially being pub gigs not originally intended for release. But, there are some cool things about this package. First off, the booklet is everything you'd want, stuffed with pictures, plus a liner essay from Greg Godovitz and then track by track commentary. Which really helps, because there are a ton of non-LP rarities here (Goddo issued four studio albums and a double live spread during their initial run), including some thudly rockers like 'Getting Down To Basics', boogie wooger 'Hollywood Queen' and the full-on metal of 'Dead Of Night' and 'London Town'. And great guitar sound outa Gino Scarpelli throughout, even though the totality is just a bit beyond boot. In fact, let's break it down, almost all of the rarities are heavy rockers of a sort, written in the band's underachieving blue collar style mind you, and yeah, about half the damn collection is rarities. Highlight: 'Standing In The Road' which is a (for once) over-achieving psychedelic metal thing somewherez between Trower, Derringer and Marino.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 4