Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

The Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight

Four points off 10 for being instrumental right off the bat, but then things get easy, enjoyable and even glassy-eyed nostalgic. See, even if Clearlight features members of Crowbar, Eyehategod and Down, what they've come up with here is a stoner rock way more finesse-able and subtley chops-mad than the norm. I mean, if you are the type that thinks Spiritual Beggars' Ad Astra is the bomb - fresh and 1972 at once, more like unloved proggy psyche than Sabbathed grunge - this is for you. In fact this B3-heavy affair might have eclipsed Amott and Co. if it would have had vocals. As it is though, I dunno what you do with this. Watch Dukes Of Hazard or Stutz Bearcat (why am I the only one who remembers that show?) with the sound off and a funny cigarette glowing? Awesome drumming though, Joey Lacaze being one of a rare breed who has taken note of Ian Paice. OK, I added one point back on, because these guys obviously know and love their history.
Rating 7

Yngwie Malmsteen - War To End All Wars

I mean, what do you want from this man? It's hard to believe that people had much to bitch about with Alchemy, lots of blinding soloing, thumping riffs, retro power. . . it's what we begged him for. Well, again and even moreso, I can't see anybody (who knows what they're in for) not totally bowing in prostration to this sledge of personality-rich power metal. So what are the tweaks? Well, I hear a more desperate and passionate vocal performance, Mark Boals' technician pipes approaching the anguish of a life sentence in a castle dungeon. But drummer John Macaluso is trying valiantly to break him out, putting up a rhythmic battle that seems designed to whip Yngwie into a frenzy. And the riffs are their own type of granite ballast, the metal mania of this album letting up only for the tosser instrumentals, the drunken U.S. bonus track (Yngwie and a drunken Police cover band buddy from back home stumble to the studio) and the incredibly valid family man ballad Miracle Of Life, mature, level-headed, maybe the album's best track. Even melodic rocker Bad Reputation thumps and bumps with football persuasion. Yngwie is pretty much the man with a past that is most obsessively committed to, married to, and having his way with, all the rules of power metal practiced by those vacant of such a past. So there's a pride there, a pride in knowing that he wrote most of these rules, and is therefore granted poetic license when he feels like letting it rip. I was going to say 'putting on a clinic', but this record is anything but clinical, despite the halting idiom in which it operates.
Rating 8.5

Hard Reviews Page 3