HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

MOLLY HATCHET - Greatest Hits II
(SPV)

Like Frampton and Foghat with "sequels" to their live albums, Molly Hatchet follows up their successful Greatest Hits album with a second slab. I know, weird comparison, but it's kinda apt, and entirely warranted as a release, 'cos anything that helps convince or remind people that leader Bobby Ingram and lead belter Phil McCormack have made Molly Hatchet the greatest and heaviest southern rock band in history (cliches be damned, or worn like tattoos)... well, keep instructing and compiling. Production, riffs, vocals, those American slogans for miles... Greatest Hits II is crammed full of the 100 proof. The studio mastery of the first disc would have been enough though. I mean, a second disc of the new band doing a lot of the old classics live is pandering and not necessary, although, in fact, it only goes to prove how potent and robust the current songs are. Take off those rose-coloured glasses and current Hatchet tears a strip off the old (over-rated?) band of drinking brothers. As bonus, Bobby pens a nice liner essay, and the boys tack on a new studio track, the Indian-themed 'Sacred Ground', unsurprisingly huge of hard rock groove, a Skynyrd-slayer at ten paces (but for a real southern metal treat, go get bulldozed by 'Justice', title track of the last fire-breathing studio spread).
Rating 8

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT - Deconstruction
(HevyDevy)

Issued simultaneously with the light and ambient Ghost album (same band name), Deconstruction is an ambitious, Zappa-esque concept album about a search for the meaning of reality that involves the devil and a cheeseburger. There's orchestration, weirdness, alternative metal and humour, which again adds up to Zappa, but maybe even more so Primus, given the emphasis on tribal rhythms, prog rhythms and permutations upon rhythm sections. Choir-like vocal arrangements accent the weirdness (a goofier, happier Peccatum comes to mind as well), although it's a weirdness that never gets too inaccessible, the early charm of Strapping adding an inviting and even spiritual element. As the trip wears on, much loopy metal of a speedy, thrashy and even black nature emerges, so Zimmer's Hole (or Zimmershole) is evoked as well. The whole frantic mind-stuff is made easier to digest, however, by the smart, artistic layout of the lyrics within the class act booklet - this is one of Dev's coolest album covers in years, and he's had some nice ones. A final impression? I dunno... the bumpy ride of the thing has me tiring quickly, as well as reaching for Ghost in search of the pretty music Dev is capable of, only sparingly, although when you find those jewels, it can actually change your personality.
Rating 7.5

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