Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Mogg/Way - Chocolate Box
(SPV)

OK, I'm quite firmly ensconced in that 8 zone on this one, but I'd probably go 7.9 if I had the increments. I'm somewhat feeling the same empty pit as I did with the debut, this sense of loneliness, like we're hearing a Mogg solo album, where the man sparks and fires all over the place, challenged only by a young hotshot guitarist he gives way too much space. I like Jeff Kollman's performance here though, because it actually sounds like a hyper-alert Schenker on crack: why should we ever complain about that? And Mogg does sound like he's on a rock 'n' soul mission. But there's that feeling that he is really giving us more metal than he cares for. The magic of UFO is that they doled it out in measured doses, mixed their own likes and dislikes with those of their fans. Here it's a beauteous spread, bluesy, fresh, novel, but not eccentric. And not overly deferential to keyboardist Paul Raymond I might add. And wow, let's look at that line-up: three solid UFO alumni, and on drums, wizzened rock vet Simon Wright. It is only that crucial link (guitar) that still has too much colour in its liver, and as a result, is almost trying too hard. I guess it works best when you have a guy who is always threatening to quit and wreck everything on the way out that door. So count me happy, quite happy, but just a little soulsick.
Rating 8

Brutal Truth - Goodbye Cruel World!
(Relapse)

Here's about all you might be able to handle from a band that knew they could never be that big, because it was all too smart and too harsh in one thick brick to the head. Most of this 2-CD, 56-song set is live, but we do get a number of Japanese bonus tracks, vinyl EP tracks, and a wily, cagey, punchy collection of covers from the likes of Sabbath, Sun Ra, Celtic Frost, Germs, Melvins and the Boredoms, among other lesser, appropriately way-underground acts. It was all like some sort of grind in-joke, a parody of the crisp edge of heaviness, bloshcore for advanced music fans, an invited punishment but for a few. So here's the big send-off, and although there's a surprising lack of treble, this sucka serves as the ultimate document that grabs old, new and influence in one instructive package.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 3