HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Dimension Zero - This Is Hell
(Century Media)

Comparing this relentless second album to the relentless first one, one finds that the main difference is a layer of enigmatic frenzy massaged into This Is Hell, almost to the point of making the first one sound like a record plagued by something missing, a drop-out. But other than that, this In Flames- and Marduk-connected side project mines the same terrain, Dimension Zero getting in and out quick with a hilariously merciless, blurry-fast collection of Swedish death thrashers, songs that serve as catch basin for Jesper's more Slayer-esque riffs, ones that can no longer be used in his smarmy main concern. The band have added a guitarist and make no mistake, this is all about guitars, vocalist Jocke Gothberg cawing along to solid central, circuitous riffs that tug the listener into the band's uniquely punk rock world view. Still, it's merely another perfectly headbangable thrash feast among many along the road from Jesper to Jensen and beyond. Half a point docked for a 36 minute album that includes a two minute intro with bad English accents ("It's like fallin widou hidding the ground.").
Rating 7.5

Uriah Heep - Live In The USA
(Classic Rock Legends)

Ever the pros, and almost disconcertingly adept at making (too many) great live albums, Uriah Heep have documented their ill-attended Classic Rock Festival that touched down in New Jersey a couple years back, other proggers in tow. But yeah, this is a band on fire, offering tracks mostly from off the beaten path, each enveloped by the band's patented and mesmerizing Hammond/acoustic/electric chemistry, a current that cruises above one of the most instinctually rhythmic drummers in the business Lee Kerslake. But the theme (only briefly departed from) is full rock band with acoustic riffing in place of electric, a particular treat come the under-rated AOR years, represented by The Other Side Of Midnight and That's The Way That It Is. But the major treat is saved for last, a full electric, gloriously groovy version of The Magician's Birthday, a rare play, a creepy epic, a gem in the hands of this latest but long-running Heep line-up. And one more comment: you simply cannot ask for better live high fidelity.
Rating 8

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