Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Blo.Torch - Blo.Torch
(Wicked World/Earache)

As I summarily discard complete metal subgenres from my frame of listening pleasure, I'm glad there are bands like this filling the fertile few that I give a damn about. New Dutch band Blo.Torch are one of these cut 'em up experiences between death, black and the extreme end of traditional, sounding like a cross between God Dethroned, Arch Enemy, Gardenian and In Flames, which is a nice place to roost as far as I'm concerned. Whether you are getting cynical at this point, thinking you are noticing too many melodic death metal acts ripping on Maiden, well, that's up to you. You certainly have that right. But for now, I'm at least finding this recent entry acceptable and useful, stuffed with thrashy speed, mid-harsh vocals, quick 'n' nimble changes of mind and pace, and a general entertainment factor that remains high throughout. Blo.Torch may be average and averaging, but it's drawing concentric arcs through a complex hybrid I'm paying a lot of attention to right now.
Rating 8

Michael Schenker Group - Live: Unforgiven World Tour

It's hard for me to just enjoy this for what it is, an exploitation release from an organization that has only had a centre and no foundation pillars surrounding. Schenker took a lot of heat for his thick last album (I liked it), and much of that line-up is back for this hits upchucker. The UFO songs are a waste (except for newie Pushed To The Limit: yeah!), all the usual suspects (find the bum piano note in Love To Love), but the MSGs are quite fun, all stacked to the end of disc 1, with On And On kind of touching a high. Kelly Keeling is cool, but he's just some guy, y'know? And he makes half-hearted attempts to sing in the style of the original, although it seems like a fleeting thought, or perhaps something deep in his subconscious. Anyway, it's hard to listen to the thing knowing any minute, Master Schenker is going to hand out the walking papers to whoever, and go looking for another piece of meat.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 4