HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

At All Cost - It's Time To Decide

Ostensibly the returning and legendary Combat Records wanted to sign bands that were a bit different, new, exciting. Austin Texas' At All Cost fit that in one specific, gimmicky way - the use of vocorder and auto-tuner, along with shoehorned in dancy breaks and keyboard blips. But look deeper, and the rest of the show is a bit different too, At All Cost's version of metalcore leaning towards a catchy, hooky, accessible, intimate, none too complex form - like God Forbid, only Andrew Collins is mostly singing in a juvenile bratcore rasp. Whatever - I guess I'd rather hear something new too, and this is sorta funny. I mean, anybody remember Deadsy with Gregg Allman's kid in it? You sorta thought 'They must be kidding,' and whether they were or not, it was amusing. The weirder the better too, which makes 'Fabricated' a Coheed And Cambria-like highlight, and the back half of the record a near album-redeemer.
Rating 5.5

Brides Of Destruction - Runaway Brides

Wow, congratulations to Tracii for rising above the loss of Nikki Sixx from the Brides and turning in an even better record than the debut, which, I suppose, was faultless in a way but irritating in its choice of songs, sort of trendy... wot a rock dawg was supposed to do to sort of stay both dirty and young, when no one was (young, that is). First off, 'Lord Of The Mind' is a killer, almost epic opener, the immediate impression being that Andy Johns (Zeppelin, etc.) has more than bettered his recent L.A. Guns work and turned in an organic, bassy, uneasy production job with vocals mixed back, not 'cos London is bad, but because it suits the juggernaut of the music. Fact is, there's a ton of variety here, lots of art, London engagingly chameleon-like, the band often grungy in a good flamethrowin' way (like original Jane's or Soundgarden). Mid-record, things get a little heavier, but man, 'Brothers' is sinister and proggy at the same time, again, a production piece at the same time it's biker rock. And on and on, songs trickier than Tracii's ever written, even some beautiful Dollsy pop. Ha! I guess it turns out Nikki was too corporate and safe for Brides. And forget Velvet Revolver or Audioslave: if there was any justice in the world, Brides Of Destruction would be the smash hard rock band. 'Course, they can forget it.
Rating 9

Hard Reviews Page 5