HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Rehab (Chavis)

Yeah, I know, this has been out for a while, but time stands still for Quiet Riot, don't it? OK, at first, I was horrified at the doomy, grungy production on this thing, especially prevalent on the doomy, grungy first track 'Free' (dreadful cover art too). But then the band settles into a really personal, raw record of bluesy metal, with Kevin's voice an instrument of beauty and persona, delivering real life words with passion and dimension. But man, back to the production... you gotta laugh: go hear the bass drum at the beginning of 'Blind Faith': Frankie knows what he's doing and he loves Bonham, and this is a perfect example of a debate that must rage whether Bonhams drum sound was really, really good or really, really bad - there's no in-between. Anyway, the songs trump, and in fact, you can tell there's a wily understanding that when you pile on everybody's tracks together, a certain veracity and liveliness occurs in the sonic picture. And like I say, the songwriting reinforces this organic human quality, 'Black Reign' being fully Who-like, 'Strange Daze' as well (at least in the verse), the guys' love of classic rock shining through, mostly Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Free, and er, Black Crowes, Kingdom Come and Great White. But fact is, more than anything, this feels like a big brash Led Zeppelin album, risks taken, ragged sound and playing, gaps, atmospherics and then noise ricocheting every which way. Too much talk has occurred about the lone cover on this 11 track album, 'Evil Woman' not being THAT 'Evil Woman' but a rote (and appropriate) leaden blues, featuring Glenn Hughes on vocal duet with DuBrow - two of classic hard rock's best big mouths putting on a histrionic blooz clinic fer nine minutes of jammy ham.
Rating 7.5

Dead Planet: Sonicslowmotiontrals (Suburban Noise)

Wisely and freshly sidestepping the tried and true of stoner rock and the trendy of Queens Of The Stone Age (not so much trendy, just what worked for that band, and thus derivative), ex-Kyuss medicine chest Nick Oliveri goes for a bright and expensive-sounding recording with lots of highs and juiced electricity at the guitars (courtesy Nick Raskulinecz - Foo Fighters, Shadows Fall, Rush), crafted o'er an upbeat punk-charged collection of songs with shouty vocals to drive the point home that this is all a wake-up call. So yeah, it's pert and populous of riffs and switchbacks and new things coming next track. I suppose as it progresses it starts adding up vaguely alternative and smarmy like a Queens (or Masters Of Reality) record, but again, there are guitars everywhere, and it's generally fast and outdoorsy, sorta like Mondo Generator at this year's Ozzfest.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3