Something Wicked - Something Wicked
Here's the story of a traditional '80s metal band with an aggressive edge (ah, hence the wicked, of course), just slogging it out for ten years in Indianapolis, oblivious to trend, just playing a scrappy cross-stitch of early Metal Church through Subhuman Race Skid Row and all dreary power points in between. So it's often sloggy, heaving, always smelling like beer with a little hairspray and a little motor oil. Too many styles here, without the production to pull them off (in fact, just pull a few out), kind of like a low-grinding version of the Gunners over-reaching their Illusions. In fact, damn, it tends to get mellow often as the evening wears on and the next day at the warehouse looms. Something I never would have imagined, but by the end of the album, Something Wicked loses its teeth. Still, you gotta give 'em props for executing the most uncommercial, uninvited metal imaginable.
Grudge - Forgiveness
Here's a power sledge of a semi-indie, Grudge wallowing with big cement boots out of Montana with a wallop of a sound that crosses Crowbar with Trouble, Biohazard and Faith No More, that latter prop going to Gerrick Phillips' Mike Patton vocal melodies and phrasings. But as likeable as Gerrick is, the band's main ace has got to be that earth-moving guitar sound, Richard Candelaria coming up with amazing hybrids between doom, slo-core and hard modern metal, not so much nu-metal but maybe like, damn, Godsmack or Type O or maybe Stuck Mojo? Lots of variety as well, a few of the tracks containing drop-downs to atmospheric verses with a slight nod to the rap-style of Patton, again, sparing and more Patton than anything trendy. Rhythms can also be busy, but any attempts at dynamic are hilariously smothered by those heaving axes. See www.Grudge2000.com for more info.