Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Joe Lynn Turner - Holy Man
(MTM/SPV '00)

There's no reason to expect a cohesive track record from our man Joe, 'cos he simply doesn't have one. He's a journeyman with confusing complicated desires, many musical paths to follow, hard rock never feeling all that welcome in his heart despite his great voice for it. So Holy Man sounds projecty, like one of those Deadline tributes with all the great hair shredders aboard. And it also sounds like Rainbow's Stranger In Us All, written heavy and then played at minimum volume, nil on the fuzz, max restraint, too much tasty and not enough hungry. And it also sounds like a 'give the people what they want' album (ask Glenn Hughes about that albatross), which usually results in a surface buzz and then instant restlessness followed by lethargy. But from this guy, geez, with his total fluff pop head, you gotta be happy this is as heavy as it is, even if it's a 40 watt version of Rainbow's weakest album Difficult To Cure. It's a shame, there's some big damn riffs of here. Get Andy Sneap in to produce, and you would have had a piece of combat rock here.
Rating 6.5

Opprobrium - Discerning Forces
(Nuclear Blast)

Opprobrium is the new complicated and unwieldy name (means "disgrace from shameful act") for Louisiana-via-Brazil death metal act Incubus, who had to shift monikers after the rapcore act got big in their britches. Discerning Forces is the comeback album (things are on the move: two new members were added before recording, although they were too fresh to appear on the album), Francis and Moyses M. Howard turning in a delicious death feast that is fresh, tunefully retro-metallic, thankfully devoid of blastbeats, sort of Deceased meets Six Feet Under with a smatter of mid-paced Slayer. Cool vocal too, more like a braying bark, boozed-up sounding, unlike the monotone deathspeak of the norm. It's all about riffs, and these are metallic, thrashy, truly and electrically powerful, again, unlike the snobby off-putting intricacy of more extreme purist fare. Extreme metal that brings back one of metal's magical characteristics: the neck-snapping, draft-chugging, headbanged groove.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 3