Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Nashville Pussy - High As Hell

New label, same steer-wrastlin' dragstripmall rock, which, given the buzzed interest in the band, is Jim Dandy fine by a whole redneckin' segment of a rock audience hungry for steak and stein. High As Hell was named in homage to Highway To Hell, and is indeed a big nasty mutt Butthole Surfer'ed by back in Black Angus, Black Oak Arkansas, Black Betty and lost but not forgotten running boards Raging Slab and Four Horsemen. The whole thing is sent up the river like a parody of bands in the '70s might have sounded like and thought they were artists. Smack in the smug '00s, it might seem a little wooled over, empty and larked, but one shouldn't discount the fact that few have the hood-bolted horns to make this kind of silliness their trade. Two gals, two beer guts, and one helluva twangin' metal caterwaul. Trivia note: You Ain't Right riffs it up close and cozy to Status Quo's Is There A Better Way and Go To Hell is a sidestep into swamp balladry made nasty and tasty by lead vocalist Blaine Cartwright's Lemmy-hollowed rasp, something which bode well on the record's tour with the mighty Motor-men themselves.
Rating 8

Emerald Rain - Age Of Innocence
(Frontiers/Now & Then)

These guys are apparently from my hometown, but do you think I've heard of then, seen 'em, or crossed paths with their melodic metal selves? Nuh-uh, probably because Toronto's such an anti-metal zone. No, Emerald Rain have gone the usual European and Japanese routes to get their stuff heard, this being record two of their existence after recording as Pain, and after touring and recording with labelmate Bob Catley. Their sound is a cross between hair metal and the big riffs of material more traditional and classic, sorta like Thunder or Y&T or Whitesnake slicked up a bit but with few neo-hair tricks and tips in operation. There's a nice Halen-esque or Queen-like or Lynch-pinned separation of riff from all else, tenor-directed vocals (which could wake up a bit), highly electric guitar textures, big harmonies, all adding up to a fortunate situation where we have commercial elements but an interestingly underground sound. Quite happy with it, even though it's not in the least what one would call adventurous.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 3