Pro-Pain - Run For Cover
Despite the "excitement" from Gary about doing a covers album, the concept is very tired and tiring. But first off, Pro-Pain are the ultimate simple rock moshers, unleashing great guitar tones that grind with intent underneath the roaring punk bark of Meskill. As well, the metal is well-chosen to match the skills (Iron Fist is actually better than the Motorhead version), and to match the more obscure hardcore from bands like GBH, Agnostic Front, Discharge and Operation Ivy, even if things get a little So-Cal melodic at times. So it hangs together well, but, back to my original premise: their original premise is so infinitely not a news event.
Bill Ward - Straws
Tragically under-utilized within Sabbath, drummer Bill Ward is no less than a world class music writer, and arranger, a literary giant, production visionary, innovative drummer, seductive melody technician and quite a passionate, distinct singer on top of all that. Straws showcases the man's near musical genius with devastating effect. But get this, Straws is one three minute song, packaged like a full CD, limited to 1000 copies, signed by Bill, package including a cryptic note about Bill's impending fears of terrorist attacks. And it's also available at www.billward.com - this masterpiece is essentially a "canary in the coal mine" sort of gift toward world peace. It's one of the coolest things I've heard in years, featuring crunching chords, breathtakingly apocalyptic lyrics and vocals, jaw-dropping twists and turns, wild production, and at least two melodies that are pure spun gold - all in a scant three minutes. Picture Roger Waters solo next to Nirvana's In Utero crossed with howling, hurting metal and... the man rules. I eagerly await the almost comically delayed Beyond Aston album.