HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Strings To A Web (Nuclear Blast)

Peavy and crew return with a perfectly placed Rage record to remind us of al the benefits of this goodly franchise delivered with aplomb. Thus there's the groove, the true metal riffery, the power metal, the prog touches, the speed and energy and above all the melodic acumen as delivered through Peavy's powerful and connective voice. Rage has swung commendable to heavier fare through to classical in the past, but Strings To A Web plays to classic Rage strengths, and mostly at the quicker end, perhaps the zip calling for and capably receiving a high level of passion, a passion that feels very German, from Accept, through Helloween, Grave Digger and Blind Guardian - at happy home at Wacken, as it were. So it makes sense that the bonus DVD is an action-packed daylight Wacken set, a bunch of fit featuring Schmier and Hansi on guest vocals. Pro-shot and nicely accessorized, it helps put a personal face to the band as you switch back to the CD and cop to the sweet songwriting of this uniquely positioned band of power metal brothers capable of both heavier riffs and lighter choruses than one's conception of power metal allows, not to mention number of events, switchbacks, breaks and time hiccups per song.
Rating 8

Stampede (Epic)

Mod metal supergroup Hellyeah (I know, looks funny, but one word seems to be the concensus) is back with album number two and not much has changed. What you get is churning downtuned riffs from Mudvayne's Greg Tribbett and Nothingface's Tom Maxwell propelled by the nu-metal bass tones of Damageplan's Bobzilla. Vinnie Paul, of course, bashes out the bottom, while Mudvayne's Chad Gray puts that weirdly out-of-tune Mudvayne bark o'ertop. The end result is a hybrid between metalcore and nu-metal, which is not something that appeals to me for both reasons. Ergo, there goes hooks out the window, there goes angry monotoned signing and doomful playing marching on at mid-paced cage match altitudes and attitudes. I dunno, it's the feeling of being yelled at over a type of music that feels ten years ago and then pretty much no one has a good memory of nu-metal so yeah, there's some extra bad vibes to go with yer being yelled at.
Rating 5

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