Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Hades - DamNation
(Metal Blade)

After a career of complication, Hades are just cranking them out now, DamnNation being the band's third record in four years with some reissue action inbetwixt. The vibe this time is darker, uglier, sort of an organic, less idiosyncratically recorded version of Nevermore. As usual, there's an organic vibe and an uneasy love/hate placement within the realm of a slower, chunkier form of thrash, Hades managing to sound like an '80s band that has soaked up by osmosis all the songwriting tips and tricks of all who succeeded and failed through the next decade. Tecchio's vocals have attracted a lot of wrath in this reunion era, and I would venture that comes from his dramatic actorly deliveries of some amusing turns of phrase ("If you bloast you'll be toast" comes to mind) and odd vocal melody choices. To my ears, it often sounds strange but it works, namely because he's got a killer voice and the lyrics are way above average. Production-wise, it's a big, fat, loveable mess of power persuasions, driving these tracks well and good toward eagle rock metal kingdoms. Highlights: Momentary Clarity, with its groovy Megadeth meets Voivod riff and Absorbed, which is solid Slayer worship with an exalted Savatage sense of mission. One complaint: too many slow tracks and/or passages, which don't suit the Tecchio vibe, the man delivering too much drama for a backing track that offers too little.
Rating 7.5

Reverend - A Gathering Of Demons
(Neck Damage)

Reverend was a dark, slashing thrashing offshoot vehicle for Metal Church's colourful first frontman David Wayne. Having crunched two freeze-dried studio albums, an EP and a live album (I believe that's right) in the late '80s/early '90s, the band was always seen as a nastier flamethrown version of an increasingly serious and seriously artistic Metal Church. Well Dave and a new crew of retro-headbangers is back with a trashy four track indie, setting up a future full-length. The sound is raw, bordering on demo quality, and the songs are total old school thrash with a penchant for slower grinding grooves. Dave is still the king shrieker though, and the last track on here, Legion is Dave's original idea for Blessing In Disguise's stellar Fake Healer track, redone by his nasty band with the original lyrics. Can't praise the hell out of this, cos it's pretty rough and nothing new, although I can see these guys getting it together and making the full-length smoke. See http://reverend.cx for more info.
Rating 6.5

Hard Reviews Page 5