Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Von Groove - Drivin Off The Edge Of The World
(MTM/SPV)

Canada's Von Groove have tried many things in their melodic (OK, call it hair) metal career, but thankfully, this one finds them back harder rocking than usual. Still, stadium-style guitar pro Mladen and his assembled out-of-timers dish the hooks and harmonies copiously, while still keeping the sound lively and all about guitars bass, drums and invisibly clear vocals, sorta Extreme crossed with the playfulness of Saigon Kick, the tradition of Thunder and a dash of modern-day slightly alt. Warrant (which is vastly better than the old Warrant: check it out). Plus just to play up the Canadian origins of the band (although I don't know why: all their relevant business is done in Europe), there's a trace of Santers in here, straight Maple Leaf regular season rock, especially in the anonymous Mike Reno perfection of this particular Mike's lead vocals. The open architecture arrangements work to great advantage though, and one can see these songs stinging like a hair clinic Scorpion live.
Rating 7

Hammerlock - Anthems For Outlaws
(Man's Ruin)

Man, I gotta stop playing this thing over and over again and get some other stuff heard and reviewed. But I can't, because redneck rock rules my porch reet now. First it was Amercian Dog's debut a hunnerd times, then Nashville Pussy, but now this second from a San Fran man and wife team of all things! A shot of this and you'll be off waving your arms into the woods after your mangy mutt after a skunk, you drunk. What makes it work is this: there's 20 very different songs, including a bikered up, liquored up stomp through Battle Of New Orleans, Cold Coors which lifts Bob Seger's Old Time Rock 'n' Roll, punk, blues, slide, barrelhouse cowpunk, nods to Foghat, Raging Slab, Agony Column, Four Horsemen, basically Nashville Pussy cow-prodded with the succinct sphincters of the Minutemen, the drooling wobble-lips of The Replacements and the supercharged windmill guitars of Husker Du. Now let's not have a million bands like this please. Leave it in the hands of a special few (and this big red truck trio are indeed, right some special). We all saw what happened to stoner rock...
Rating 9

Hard Reviews Page 4