Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Stuck Mojo - HVY1
(Century Media)

Constantly building their reputation through touring and a refreshing crowd compassion and subsequent connection, Stuck Mojo have become Century Media's biggest selling band in the U.S. (maybe, maybe not: these things are said once and we all spit-swap them until it's ingrained). In any event, they are a great live band, and HVY1 is their live document, after a bit of line-up turmoil and break-up rumours, slamming with that large exacting hardcore rap groove this band finds without sounding trend-faced. Moreover, Stuck Mojo manage to make this feel like a sun-dappled festival gig in the '70s, which is victory #1. Victory #2 is the perfectly crystalline production of long-time bud Andy Sneap, who grabs the band's brisk and shocking groove engineering, and locks down the bolts so all you hear is the sweet ching of metal. Victory #4 however is the crowning achievement: the two studio tracks. Reborn, my God, where do I start? Suffice to say this is a masterpiece, the best song Faith No More never wrote, stout-of-hook, sugared with a perfectly-placed keyboard line (the same one that iced Rainbow In The Dark), and then rooted like a big oak with three different, blindingly beautiful guitar riffs. And that chorus: this song should be a smash hit. I just can't stop playing it. It's made my jogging tape and will likely burn many calories for me. It is the sweetest rock moment this year. If you're not smiling out loud with a laugh painted right across your face yet, just check out the monster closing 56-second sequence: guitar hero composition that makes you feel like a dope for listening to European power metal (which I've decided is gay). My Will is also crunchy neo-metal science. If you can get past the first bass 'n' drums half verse letdown, you're safe to once more get stuck and infected by a guitar 'n' flamethrower rap metal verve that is life itself. Hotlanta damn, this bodes well for the next studio album, to be sure. For now, have modest fun with this live thing, go revisit the band's three records, and try not to play these two new ones into sick-of-it-all resentment.
Rating 8

Kreator - Endorama
(Pavement)

This mishandled then dropped bomb has been out for a while in Europe, and reports had been none to good from get go. Kreator have gone all accessible, doing a rough and way-too-tumbled job of something akin to new Metallica and new Megadeth, mixed with a disconcerting and ill-fitting dose of goth, a goth that samples equally from the new wave variety, and from the Century Media variety practiced by Samael and Moonspell. None of it works, Kreator being too close to the spirit that spawned Witchery to pull off songs that require the slick touch. So the production blows, as do Petrozza's vocals which are out of tune when he tries that moody angsty stalker whisper thing that is so annoying in three or so trendy sub-splicings of today's metal. The keyboards are almost incidental, there to make a point, point being, stick to your pudding or think it through.
Rating 4

Hard Reviews Page 4