Nonexist - Deus Deceptor
A clashing of metal minds, the uneven Deus Deceptor contains charms despite itself, charms falling out of non-synergistic parts getting mushed together and then hastily caught on tape. Nonexist (the crap name is yer first faux pas) teams ousted Arch Enemy vocalist Johan Liiva with Defleshed/Dark Funeral drummer Matte Modin and most oddly of all, Andromeda prog guitar prodigy Johan Reinholdz. The result is predictably unpredictable: sort of like clean rock 'n' rollsy Entombed with old school Baloff vocals, rummaged through with a guitarist who gets tricky and fresh with accessible death, but also provides clean and wildly out of place starlight licks. It's a likeable mess of tangled signals, often unsuccessful, often ear-perky like a car wreck you gotta crane at. Weakest point: Liiva's vocals, which are too starkly old thrash for whatever the hell this is.
The Rubes - Hokum
Despite the faceless band and album names, Ohio's The Rubes mine terrain that is more or less untapped within the stoner genre, sounding like a power-chorded Gov't Mule, blessed up top with a vocalist named Mace who sounds like a rock starry soul-scarred blues singer, stoned, spiritual, blasting like Glenn Hughes or Coverdale when he has to, Chris Cornell at the drop of a hat, Dave Matthews at the turn of a phrase. Weird one really, coming across as doom meets roughly handled King's X side project meets Phish. The end result recalls the magic of early Soundgarden, the listener forced to expect the unexpected but always in caveman power trio-trashed context.