Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Entombed - Uprising
(Music For Nations)

Man oh man, are Entombed back with a drooling vengeance. After the clever but precious alt.metal believe-our-own-press affront of Same Difference, Entombed do the cowardly thing and go huffing and puffing back to death rock. And rubes 'n' dupes that we are, we're all busy welcoming them back with open wallets; or to put it more accurately, open word processors, for so far, only the press has responded, Entombed record sales being none to resilient at this point. If one can improve on To Shoot Straight or Wolverine Blues, then this nasty little blaster has done it. There's a sense of punk to the thing, along with an extreme vision of plastered Motorhead. What's more, the band's lyrics have stayed wisely away from metal themes, most of them sounding like disjointed nonsense, but adult-themed nonsense all the same. And the riffs, man, again, just so well-written, blistering like cheap paint through boiling, caustic production values which again, are like Motorhead braver than an old rocker like Lemmy would ever attempt. Only complaint: hate the cover, a crappy black and white afterthought which makes this metal-saving record look like a reissued bunch of demos from some long disenfranchised indie label deep within Entombed's colourful past.
Rating 10

Savatage - Ghost In The Ruins: A Tribute To Criss Oliva
(Nuclear Blast)

As a taster for the imminent release of Savatage's first studio effort for the label, Nuclear Blast have snagged this four-year-old smoke-faced live album out of import obscurity status for a proper North American issue. Featuring the band's classic line-up, its main reason for existence is to hail the band's fallen original guitarist Criss Oliva, killed in a car crash in 1993. Criss (along with brother-in-glory Chris Caffery), is of course, is the spotlight guitarist on these tracks, properly recorded for CD release at various stops between '87 and '90. The coolest part of the package is a photo where Jon Oliva looks like Mortiis. But other than that, I'm sure 'nuff glad to hear an unrelenting onslaught of to-the-temples Savatage rockers, masterworks like Legions, 24 Hours Ago, The Dungeons Are Calling, Sirens (particularly dastardly riffing, particularly thespian Jon) and Hall Of The Mountain King containing that tall vision of might and right that made these guys so immediately important in the mid '80s.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 5