HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Ironboss - Hung Like Horses
(Underdogma)

Breaking bones and severing fingers through ten years of retro rocking for any biker bar and lude-hoovering label that will have them, Baltimore's Ironboss are the real deal. Yet these guys are not afraid to write stupid like Kiss (check out the holler-along title track) or sweetly melodic like down in the mouth southern rock. There's an integrity here, falling out of the fat, raucous yet strangely dry production, falling out of Chris Rhoten's vocal, which captures the '70s-fandom of guys like Chris Goss and Dave Wyndorf. It all comes together on a song like Hot Smoke And Sassafrass which sing-songs with charm until a hilariously improbably psych break, which is followed by a solo which sounds like Ted on Hibernation or Great White Buffalo. Definitely not flashy stoner rock (more like slouchy) Hung Like Horses nevertheless wins and winks on three or four abstract levels, the band making unambitious songs work through a soot-faced vibe not unlike the stoking of the engine on a steam train.
Rating 7.5

Marty Friedman - Music For Speeding
(Favored Nations)

Marty left Megadeth for the right reason, namely, his urge to explore other musical avenues, some metal, some down the road toward Japanese pop (Marty now lives in Japan). But Music For Speeding is an almost Halford-apologetic swing back toward metal, Friedman nonetheless bringing his new, springy, optimistic creative verve to the game. Little bits of electronica spice the proceedings nicely, and there's even some Japanese spoken word and moves that might be classed as amusing or camp. Bit for the most part, this is Marty shredding tastefully (a hard thing to do) over brisk but not speed metal - and certainly not blasting - beats. And the cool thing is, practically none of it sounds like Megadeth, Music For Speeding exhibiting a freshness of configuration and general art-upon-highness that marks the work of Kevin Moore as Chroma Key. Only, like I say, Marty is all about guitar... metal guitar, all points combining for a zesty record of instrumental music highly accessible to the non-axeman washing his dishes, jogging, speeding.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3