HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Jizzy Pearl - Vegas Must Die!

Love/Hate 'n' Ratt 'n' roll survivor Jizzy Pearl is back with a second solo album, and although the guy will never write a better song than Just A Boy's Better Days or Do You Wanna Get High?, there's a higher sense of craft here, coupled with a sort of maturity that doesn't want to give up the hooks too readily. Ergo there goes a bit of dark psychedelia, Bolan-esque, yet still dark glam, menacing pushing and shoving metal (lots of this)... songs that you gotta work at a bit. The work on those pays off, and then you also realize these sort of lumbering, brooding things are integral to the anger of the semi-conceptual album, a record about love gone wrong in Vegas. So ya start with the songs that just crash bright rays into your living room, such as ballad How'd I Get So Lonely, where Jizzy phrases and articulates at a new level, also using new dimensions to that amazing voice of his. The other mellow track, You Don't Own Me is perhaps the only song I've heard influenced by Zeppelin's under-rated gem Friends, oft cited as my fave Zep track when I take into account radio fatigue Only Wait So Long starts out as an unremarkable metal blues, but Jizzo is a blast at the mic, and the chorus totally emboldens the damn thing. Ball And Gag is a classic Jizzy punk rocker, way more sophisticated of platinum hook than regular punk plastic. The album closes with another stripped and basic heavy rocker, this one with a groovy Crue swing, capping an album produced guitar-charged and explosive, but played kind of simple with respect to arrangement, weirdly leaving me wanting more, not to mention lyrics!
Rating 8

Symphorce - Godspeed
(Metal Blade)

Andy B. Franck is, of course, one of the coolest dudes in power metal. He's taken Brainstorm to new heights, and he's a big reason Symphorce has executed an inexorable march to the top of the most high-minded of post-power pantheons, a perched Falconer by their side. Along the lines of Evergrey, Morgana Lefay, Chris Caffery and Nevermore, Godspeed finds this band stonewalled with heaviness, but progressive in all creases. Dennis Ward's mercilessly bright production almost becomes necessary, given the stops and starts, the rhythmic maelstroms, the huge and hovering riffs everywhere. Experimentation is everywhere, Franck's voice variously treated, sent high, or sent to grind, soaring or even near mumble, while the band sort of batters, no matter what the speed. It all comes to a head for The Mirrored Room, which makes canny use of a crouching verse against an impossibly buoyant chorus. Classic stuff, although I notched my grade back a bit 'cos some of these moves are going to enter the realm of controversy, and maybe even a few of them don't deserve to emerge unsullied.
Rating 8.5

Hard Reviews Page 4