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by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Motorhead - We Are Motorhead

It ain't about change with this band, but I detect something cleaner but ironically meaner about this one, Lemmy and Co. sounding snapped tight, less buzzing bass, but as always driven into the bursting heart of live dynamic through the drum dominance of Mikkey Dee. So like I say, the production's moved a half-step away from the band's signature sound, but the material is as wild-punching rat-faced nasty as the last four rounders, to a man, stellar albums that have not gotten their bloody due. The band include an adequate cover of the Pistols' God Save The Queen, which to my mind is too predictable a song and similarly so the arrangement and energy level. Something for the journalists and fans to talk about, nothing more. Just there. Highlights are many, including frantic opener See Me Burning, rhythmic puzzle Wake The Dead and something carnal in between the two (Wearing Your) Heart On Your Sleeve. Curiously lame: We Are Motorhead, which Lemmy should have realized is as dull as all those early "classics" he now finds "a bit ropey." Conclusion? When Motorhead admit they're a metal band and write accordingly, no one can stop them. All three conspirators rock too hard. When they want to be cool and act punk, their songs are as uneventful as punk songs. Simple.
Rating 8

The Quiet Room - Reconceive
(Metal Blade)

It's pretty cool that the U.S. has now become the domain of the next generation of prog metallists, The Quiet Room, with this second album, taking its place amongst those pushing the parameters. There's a stand-offish quality to this band that might keep potential fans away. It is a tough sound, not all that melodic, very intricate, rhythmic and thorny. The parts are often a difficult, awkward fit, reminding me of more anti-social art rock like Mekong Delta or triumphant but dreary bands like Opeth and Katatonia. But really, in general terms, The Quiet Room might be seen as heavy, dark Dream Theater, with vocals from new guy Pete Jewell that oddly go to a Hetfield zone, really redefining the band's mandate. Strange band, keyboards off above the air, all sorts of noisy clicks, ticks and drum-origined pops (the opening dozen seconds almost sound like bad mastering), riffs turgid and obtuse, the band's large elaborate compositions challenging and sort of grim. Those who like their prog copacetic, cleansing and gleeful and spiritual like Flower Kings, Spock's Beard and Transatlantic need not apply.
Rating 7.5

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