HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

David Lee Roth - Diamond Dave
(Magna Carta)

I can hardly bear to listen to this because I'm so pissed off at how this guy who could potentially bring so much rock 'n' roll joy to a hurtin' America (with a stroke of the pen and a frontal lobotomy) has pissed away his life, or at least his responsibilities as ex-president. For no good reason, he ends up at Magna Carta - a great label, but a progressive rock and progressive metal one. As I write this, no one at the label has ever spoken to him yet, and the record's done produced, possibly out... who knows? There won't be an ounce of press on it. Blessed with an intriguing and infuriating mind - and the motor mouth that allows us see it in full technicolour - Dave, inexplicably, stingily, maddeningly deals us covers, middling, perky, commercial ones played by a back cast who... who cares? OK, let's go so far as to say Dave can't write (I don't believe it) but he can bloody well co-write. So man, please do so. You owe us. We spent a lot of money on you. This record should not be called Diamond Dave - there's just not enough of the guy here, mathematically speaking. It is the sorry work of a guy plugging his stupid party rock jukebox (in the seclusion of home - Dave's Never-join-Van-Halen-land - surrounded by hangin' on human cartoons) and then singing along - jes' fine thanks, full of life, power, style, even mouthing words that can more often than not be construed as autobiographical. But man, please, for the love of collective happiness, either fake together a Van Halen record or reform the classic solo band. This release is so below the radar, it doesn't even qualify as a caricature of "Diamond Dave," something that would at least satisfy like a sugary cereal.
Rating 4

Withered Earth - Of Which They Bleed
(Century Media)

Notwithstanding the asinine and unwieldy album title of this, the band's third album, it's cool to see Rochester NY's Withered Earth rise through the indie ranks and get with Olympic/Century Media. The band always had a bit of a star aura about them and now more folks will get to hear the band's moderately unique, thoroughly convincing death metal sound, one that adds an intriguing Sunlight/Entombed drum and guitar vibe to convoluted US death ways and means. The outcome could have been a crunchy mess of two earfuls, but Withered Earth know how to ride a groove. As well, they aren't afraid to repeat a riff for a while, just so the listener can take a breath and contemplate the nature of heaviness.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3