Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Sirius - Spectral Transition - Dimension Sirius
(Nocturnal Art/Candlelight)

Second album for this Portuguese band finds Sirius upholding the national pride of Daemonarch by flinging black metal into the Zyklon future, significantly, recording for Samoth's label. Indeed, a coterie of Zyklon/Emperor folk (of note, Faust does some drumming and spoken word) guest star on this and the sound is edgy, guitar-pierced, midrange-laden modern black metal perfection with a de rigeur astronomical theme. Not much more to say: this type of vaguely symphonic disciplined re-treatment of old school values is a mini-trend these days and Sirius are riding it, even if it's a job well done. Note: been out since March in Europe, only now seeing North American release.
Rating 7.5

Beautiful Creatures - Beautiful Creatures
(Warner)

I've found pretty much every one of these major label returns to pure rock quite awful (Buckcherry seems to have finally been exposed as bad songwriters, what with album sales and concert attendance in the crapper), but I'm quite pleased with this one. Joe LeSte I've always liked the man's voice, but let's face it, it takes a lot of coddling to keep him in tune. Throughout all those Bang Tango and tribute album excursions, he's never seen any reason to get it right. Here, well we can rebuild him, so that raggedy roar not only works, it triumphs. And his backing band is a fine, sincere, focused bunch of rock revivalists, creating what is a bit of a safe, round-corners Guns N' Roses experience (check out the Slash riff on 'Kickin For Days' and the Slash weedle on New Orleans). The sound is very big and bashed, drums fer miles, cymbals for whole time zones. Sure, it sounds a bit too perfect, but these songs have absolutely no truck with anything nu or trendy, they just rock dumb, and for that we must respond with a 'Hell, ya!'
Rating 7