Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Dirty Deeds - Danger Of Infection

If you like your punters long in the tooth, then Dirty Deeds are yer codgers. Born from the ashes of lingering mid-'80s act Chariot, Dirty Deeds caught the eye of one Steve Harris who became a champion of the band, having the boys record at his Barnyard Studios, and signing them to a five record deal for his new label, Beast Records. So here's the first Beast, and it's a worthy if not over-the-top ravefest of he-man metal, part hard US party metal, part NWOBHM, with a trace of Maiden, probably more as a nod and a wink than anything else. Uh, and all of that's sorta what Chariot was, which is OK, at least for us piners of punts past. So like I say, I'm a sucker for this kind of marauding riffery, big electric stacks of strings, fists in the air, bloody ╬ell, kinda like young ╬n' Def Leppards bashing it out with Tokyo Blade and Tank. And the bonus is that these guys ain't young pups faking it. They were there.
Rating 8

Mundanus Imperium - The Spectral Spheres Coronation
(Nuclear Blast)

Pomp and circus pants reign, as if the band's moniker wasn't your first clue. Second clue would be these dudes' cover of Rainbow behemoth Stargazer, a spread perfectly suited to these genre-slicing-and-dicing weirdos. This compression of all metal wisdom trend could get tiring, but for now, there's a shaky acceptance of yet another Dio Borgir on an already crowded River Styx. Unchecked applause for level of workmanship (plus that guy's He-man of the Hill vocals), but will the sweet smell of fromage set off the smoke detectors?
Rating 7

Alastis - Revenge
(Century Media)

Switzerland's Alastis just go about their merry black metal business (this is record four), needing flash nore fury to carve valleys within the memory circuits of the metal mind. As Paradise Lost, Samael and now Sentenced have all forsaken their past for various commercial pathways, Alastis sit perched on that road greeting them as their tour buses belch by. For this band has always offered a deceptively middle-metal, easily drinkable sound, slow, discernable, depressively melodic, and here's the clincher, firmly undergrounded. Not many tricks here, just some textural bedwork, as big, blubbery, blasphemous riff rockers languish by, sleepy-timed and softly-churned. And War D.'s vocals hypnotically march right along with the band's steamroller stroll, placed delicately back in the mix, intoning all sorts of unpleasantries while the dirt metronomically strikes the exotic hardwoods of your six-foot box.
Rating 8

Pissing Razors - Pissing Razors

Named for the band's old singer's poetic impression of having the clap, Pissing Razors have translated said descriptive to shiny aluminum. Recorded with up-and-coming producer Andy Sneap, PR evokes Sneaps other projects (Machine Head, Skinlab, Stuck Mojo), while venturing out into a higher level of complication, indeed many of these songs doing a hilarious wander from one non-repeating riff to the next. But the over-riding feel is one of aggro-metal star quality, and indeed most reviews of this one deem it a contender. Call it Machine Head with more ideas; now if only a few more memorable hooks would leap out, something this technically airtight sort of hardcore desperately needs.
Rating 7.5