Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Korn - Follow The Leader

Kinda bugs me our metal community has to vent at Korn for being trendy. Fact is, these baby testoterone pumpers were actually the originators of something, namely that love-it-hate-it Korn sound, and it's the Korn clones pooping out of L.A. that might be branded trendy. So let's get it straight: that youth-filled overdrive, that precipice-riff-madness, that Jonathan-are-you-OK? concern, that's something these little gremlins own and should be proud of. Follow The Leader is touching young nerve centres and selling in droves, but it's not a huge departure. Maybe a tad more hip-hopped, even more junk food psychedelic, but not damagingly so. There's still an ample supply of mind-scraping guitars of all frequencies, bass Īn' drums in clinician mode, all the while Jonathan shuffling through more personalities than Sybil. Hate that start-at-track-13 thing, but that hard-to-locate Earache My Eye is the best version ever, Korn hacking it to pieces with their manicured chemistry, proving why many are busy undermining their legacy through imitation. The last one rocked harder but this one's more sophisticated, art-rock percussive and black rock percussive. Not like what we say matters to the average 13-year-old. We just wouldn't understand.
Rating 8

Galactic Cowboys - At The End Of The Day
(Metal Blade)

Hey, yeah you, it's about time you paid attention to these guys, Īcos they rule. And now these Houston legends have made a slight left turn into a more immediate, dirt-faced sound, courtesy of drummer Alan Doss, who produced and mixed the whole Cheap Tricked starburst. It's more of the less-is-more we saw last time around, more jangly garage metal, still blessed by The Beatles. But it's the crackly cymbal-banged spontanaiety of the thing that really leaps out, the Cowboys rocking and reeling a little to reckless for a listener looking for the usual large supply of veiled spiritual wisdoms wrapped in solid metal form. Caustic, rough, and drum-bashed, this is a Galactics in youthful uncomplicated mosh mode, lite-brite with power, less concerned with perfect arrangements, opting for unabashed heated emotion until we just shed our assets and whirl. Oh yes, and there's more of Monty's playful and primary paintings, the perfect visual for his band's heroic, plaintive chording.
Rating 8

Witchery - Restless & Dead

Crackly, stringent traditional thrash metal is the order of the day, as Witchery take their leather booties to the snobby underground pretensions of their blacker-than-thou counterparts, many of which call Necropolis home. Another one of these convenient crosspaths, Witchery features Patrik Jensen, now in the Haunted, Mercyful Fate's Sharlee D'Angelo and the remnants of Satanic Slaughter, all gathered to quench their inner Ī80s demons. So one hears Grave Digger, Destruction, Sodom, old Voivod, Entombed, all liquored up and ready for battle. A better kind of 10-year-old camp than Hammerfall or Primal Fear, this one's more about spooks and goblins, right from the cover art through flamethrown crunchy frogs like The Reaper, Midnight At The Graveyard and Into Purgatory. A fortified, maniacal, funtime elixir, brewed for those screeching, leadfoot death-drives into the snowstormed night.
Rating 10

Jungle Rot - Slaughter The Weak

Old school and new school at once, Jungle Rot are a basic, no-frills death metal machine from Wisconsin of all places; old school due to their dry, tight-as-a-drum recording values and Dave Matrise's bile-soaked bark, new school because of their adherence to mid-metal grooves, sorta like modern Benediction, Unleashed, Six Feet Under, and label-mates Vader, all bands that have found songs underneath the breakneck thrash of their pasts. There's a logical, discernible lock on one or two ideas, and then the band hangs on grimly, delivering mechanistically, but like I say, usually at steamroller, cholesterol-chug velocities. A welcome blast of uh, infectious drinkable death.
Rating 7.5