Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Dope - Felons And Revolutionaries
(Epic/Sony)

Sounds like stiffies Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie with a little organic Amen or Sevendust thrown in to confuse, looks like a cross between Slipknot, Jane's Addiction and Rage Against The Machine, should be on Roadrunner with all the other proto-neo's soaking up the cash. Provocative like a hardcore rap album, there's lots of cop-killing, dope-snortin' and parent-prodding going on to get everybody up in arms. In fact, the only place the visuals let up is on the godawful cover art. Musically? Well, we're in that whole thing about trendiness, this being very much so a grab-bag of all that's aggro hot to some, grating and annoying to others (like myself). Limp Bizkit's label, Sugar Ray and Kid Rock's producer, touring with Orgy and Fear Factory . . . you can pretty well add all that and up and ascertain if these kids are OK.
Rating 4

Z-Lot-Z - Soul Existence
(Molten Metal)

Houston's Z-Lot-Z have spent wisely the four years since their fussy messy debut, honing their songs, molten metalizing their sound, and fusing the two into a record that is a lethal and doomy take on heavy Queensryche, a bit unto Lefay, a slight nod to Nevermore, but cleaner, clearer and sure-footed in the world of power prog. Tom Calandra's vocals are perfect for the band's stirring compositions, a base of low-reg Geoff Tate with some cool Meniketti and Baz inflections. Fact is, this one's got chemistry, balancing dark Euro-goth with cloud-breaking melody, sweeping structures with dirty riffs, convincing, compelling, if a bit too reliant of low-slung, slow-spun constructs. In any event, maybe that's the identity they're going for: the record we would want from Queensryche right now, possibly combined with the only one a grungey, Kelly Gray-ruled Queensryche could actually deliver, given a shocked shot of metal (for more info: http://members.aol.com/jbmestad). Trivia note: the two guitarist's have been doing a ripping '80s metal tribute project with James Rivera from Helstar.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 5