Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Various Artists-Return Of The Mountain King: A Tribute To Savatage

If ever there was a band that was under-tributized, it's these Florida legends. But of course, it's the idea that is cancerous and overblown at this point, said fact not stopping Dwell from lobbing 'em off the line according to some sort of favourably money making formula that had proven itself no doubt back in '98 or so. The frightening thing on a mortality front is how someone in my age bracket might have expected bloating toward the pre-prog days. Granted, there still somewhat is, but there's a number of tracks here I barely have mastered, which makes for trick enjoyment, despite the dishwater doom of many of these deliveries. Dofka wins claws down though, and Cage does quite fetching as expected. The overall vibe is one of compressed urgent frequencies, evoking a magic mid-'80s vibe, retro sounds dealing with old chestnuts, a tiny, tidy glimpse at a time when metal was being remade afresh. Bottom line: one third raging, one third competent, one third, idiosyncratic in one department or another (usually the vocals or the drum mix), from a bunch of unsigneds who however, have made themselves known within the underground.
Rating 6.5

Danger Danger-The Return Of The Great Gildersleeves
(Low Dice/Majestic)

Can't help but slot these guys in the same self-evident chrome home as Firehouse, all gleaming guitars, riffs a' plenty but angled towards the silky melodic, Firehouse being much more committed granted. Gildersleeves is the second record for the band that returns to this happy humpy world after the stoneground underpants of Dawn, and it is a record of expected party metal like it's 1989. There's a nice swagger, all the braver given the band's chosen retro reference points. But with a couple of the biggies doing well again (Poison, Crue), who knows? They could glom onto a nice tour and sell a few pancakes. Trivia: the title is a reference to the infamous club where band members first got bitten by the rock 'n' roll bug as under-age teengoofs. Here they are twenty years later, faceless, not unique in any way, but good at it. In other words, if you need ten bands like this, then here's certainly one to make the stack.
Rating 7