Hard Reviews
by Martin Popoff

Fresh Metal

Vader - Black To The Blind

Main distinguishing factor to these grey, sawed-off death metal purveyors is their origin in the eastern bloc, Olsztyn, Poland to be exact, Vader crashing about for six long years before seeing Western release with The Ultimate Incantation on Earache in '92. Three records later and Vader have soaked up like so much bile, the work of all those New York and Florida technical deathsters, ingesting this particularly American form and learning it well. Lyrical, Vader are a cut above, poetically displaying the dark side of many world traditions, preceding each well-spun tale with a few quotes and explanatory notes and then jackhammering the point home under mountains of speed, dive-bomber solos, and rhythmic acrobatics. Top it off with a cogent, muscular mix and personable almost-Unleashed-like barks from lead throat Peter, and Vader emerges as a package worth patronizing.
Rating 7.5

Million - Electric

Electric is record 3 for this classy, sassy Eurohair outfit from Gothenburg, Sweden, and given the band's sturdy straddling of party rock, '70s metal and heavier '80s outfits like Helloween and Accept, Million could be one of the successful units to catch the '80s wave bombarding every subgenre of metal at the moment. The vocals rule (think Klaus Meine on steroids and hair extensions), and the production has a curious loose-buckets feel that adds a touch of underground cache to an otherwise nicely corporate batch of tunes.
Rating 7.5

Monster Magnet - Powertrip

Marbling this record with Hell's soundtrack music might be more appropriate to Wyndorf's previous trips, this one somehow sounding triumphant, human and hopeful as the flames dance around Jersey's favourite bucker of the Man and his ways. Written and recorded quickly to be a <@147>physical<@148> album, Powertrip cuts to the root beauty of Wyndorf's personality, containing more peaks and valleys over which to spin the man's hilarious but cryptic yarns. The Monster Magnet sound is still a big explosive turkey-baste of '60s psych 'n' garage, '70s stadium rock and gnarly Seattle-polluted grunge, but Wyndorf has created anthems here, freedom tales like Powertrip (just try and ignore that chorus), sinister lobotomy lopes like Space Lord and Bummer, and creepy goth like See You In Hell tweaking that black core of failed, failing and ailing man like only Devil Dave can. It's all about temptation man, Dave finally conquering his many demons, and finding out that mental clarity doesn't stop the lunacy America spews from every orifice daily. Best antidote is bury yourself under decades of loud rockin' pop art, and Wyndorf is holding a big squirtin' syringe of it. So like I say, there's hope because there is a cure, and like all rightly self-confident artists, Dave sez that cure is the escapism of good art.
Rating 10

Hard Reviews Part 2