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by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Darkane - Expanding Senses
(Nuclear Blast)

Sounding more like new Destruction, Kreator, Testament or Terror 2000 (axeman Klas Ideberg hangs there, as well as here), Expanding Senses censors much of the progressive Swedish death complication of Insanity for a blazing, super-high-fidelity attack of post-bay Area thrash, miles smarter than the elder gods, but not as smarmy as Soilwork and In Flames. But speaking of those buzzers, melodic moments with clean Fear Factory-like singing do wedge their way into these near impermeable tracks (standout pre-chorus and chorus: Violence From Within), but never with Anders-stark eccentricity, Daniel Bergstrand's mix making sure everything is artfully creamed to create thick, unified, logical songs. Drummer Peter Wildoer is integrated more fully into things as well, the man stealing the show last time out, this time whacking away as an equal with state-of-the-art vocalist Andreas Sydow and the rest of these sterling and scientific thrash addicts.
Rating 8.5

Mothers Army - Fire On The Moon

Two of the three records from this minor supergroup are being reissued on an indie basis by guitarist Jeff Watson (www.jeffwatson.com), Fire On The Moon being the band's third, Jeff, Joe Lynn Turner, Bob Daisley and Aynsley Dunbar (replacing Carmine Appice) creating a record of forceful, rhythmic stadium rock, ponderous at times but usually energetic and always pro to go. Look to the recent Hughes Turner Project record for a comparison or for that matter, Turner's latest solo album, this '98 (previously) Japan-only release containing combative and rootsy, slightly hair-ish tracks that quite often visit Turner's past with Rainbow. Faves come late in the sequence with the fresh odd pop of The Code and the fierce Purple Rainbow pride of Another Dimension. Also reissued, this one's predecessor, the slightly moodier Planet Earth.
Rating 7.5

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