Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

The Bronx Casket Co. - The Bronx Casket Co.
(The Music Cartel '00)

Two despairing paths cross and then dissolve within the morbid grooves of the splendidly named Bronx Casket Co., Overkill's D.D. Verni bringing gothic to the world of stoner rock. But there it complicates. Because this goth is of a particularly complex variety, drawing in the Misfits (Spy aka Myke Hideous from The Misfits is D.D.'s hand-picked sobber), the Cramps, Type O, camp America, serial killer America and Satanic America. The stoner rock is also enigmatic, D.D.'s chosen supergroup (Shotgun Symphony, Overkill and Metalium members) turning in a locked-down, high fidelity performance of songs that, had they been gagged, beat-up and discharged, could have hailed from the creepy attics of The Obsessed. One gets drawn into D.D.'s cinematic New York underbelly, funereal keys bending a crick finger as you join the cult that knows too much. Ultimately what the band ends up creating is theatrical horror metal, except a little scarier than that, Spy's vampiric tenor being eerily non-rock, maybe non-human, or at least disturbingly nocturnal. And proving they've created a terrain, Bronx Casket Co. make Metallica's Jump In The Fire their own, barely distinguishable as Metallica, more of a jocular, relaxed preamble to a night of body snatching.
Rating 8.5

Tidewater Grain - Tidewater Grain
(Ruffnation/Warner '00)

Hate the name just as much as Buckcherry and American Pearl, but luckily I don't see these Philadelphia whatever rockers in the same camp. They're more like a Big Wreck due to the dominance of vocalist Kevin McNamara, who splatters his heart all over these odd songs, sorta radio-friendly, large, tall, wide, melodic, churning with guitars, a cross between the idea of sleaze metal, the rules of hard alternative, and heartland rock sentiments out of Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. There's even a that explosive punk vibe in there. In fact if it weren't for McNamara, you'd just lump these guys in with all those other bands inexplicably signed as the majors' bizarre vision for the return of rock (read: Guns 'N Roses dumbed down through less note density). And as with Big Wreck, you're either going to figure it the Messiah arrived, or you're going to think these melodies just try to hard to be your friend. I'm drawn to the latter unfortunately, also plagued by the disconcerting fact that there ain't one of these major label rock propositions I don't think is an utter sham.
Rating 5

Hard Reviews Page 4