HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Visions (Blistering)

Four years on from their debut, the project-y From The Inside return with another album of buoyant, melodic, stadium-(hopeful) rock like uptempo modern Journey of a ruthlessly slick sort. Danny Vaughn performs soul-replenishing soaring similar to the wide-open-mouthed work on his other records for Waysted, Tyketto and his solo situation, but From The Inside really goes for the rock radio anthemic, with help from the usual Frontiers suspects like Fabrizio Grossi, the House Of Lords guys, and an army of others in 12 bands at once. Safe as milk, but infectiously cheery, From The Inside are almost like that closet new country act the redneck in you quietly roots for, delivering a warm and welcome surrender to maudlin bathos that once was achieved by foisting a lighter, a diminished ritual in the age of cellphones.
Rating 6.5

A Dead Heavy Day (Century Media)

Poisonblack has always been a bit too smarmy and adventurous, so it's cool to see then rocking out at higher speeds and less gothic and proggy than in the past. Sentenced legend (!) Ville Laihiala has turned in the best clear and hurting vocal performance of his career, and his and Janne Markus' guitars are thick, riffy and doomy, but getting to the point, that point be chugging like a tank through a tank of sharks. There are some life strife and broken relationship issues alluded to, which is perhaps why the band can call the opening stadium-slaying Metallica-esque anthem 'Diane'! Frankly, the weak tinkling of piano and the spot of synth chicanery is so inconsequential, they may as well have left it out this time. Fact is, this is song after song of the very best Metallica black album/Load writing that there (n)ever was, with a tarnish of Finnish doom poisoning every damn melody. Basically a solid Sentenced replacement, with stone-carved guitars a' plenty and that strong and unique yet charmingly faulty voice, one that sounds like a lumberjack with bronchitis tearing bark off a 150-year-old (but dead) redwood. In the rain.
Rating 8

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