Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Speedealer - Here Comes Death
(Palm)

The hype machine has been steaming, belching and pumping on most cylinders for this latest posse of rock'n'roll saviors. Nashville Pussy and Hellacopters complete the vibe here, rowdy rock that once was called metal, then punk, then metal, then grunge, then hard alternative. This is the re-release of album number two, pushed by Michael Alago, the A&R guy who signed Metallica to Elektra and White Zombie to Geffen, and snob-issue rock critics now have another wild side record to make them feel heavy between Johnny Cash and Jeff Buckley pining. Problem is, to metal types, this sort of simple slashing chording comes off as uneventful, not as good as The Unband, but better than American Pearl or Loudmouth. But with so many records overflowing with 666 flavors of hard rock integrity, do we really have to buy into the money machine's accelerated stoner rock? These corporate dudes ought to be looking at Nevermore or In Flames for the next legitimate guitar flare-up.
Rating 6.5

Vanden Plas - Spirit Of Live
(InsideOut)

Ever on the rise,Vanden Plas follow their third studio album Far Off Grace with a pageant of a live album full of typically long tracks, bottom-end whomp like Lefay, and driving, constant keyboards melodies. This is one of those live albums which sounds too perfect, save for the boomy bass and crowd noise at this sold-out show at the Elysee Montmarte in Paris. Guest performances from Don Dokken and Patrick Rondat complete the picture on an album that should please fans who want to immerse themselves and subsequently analyze variation. But for those on the outside, better to examine the conceptual studio spreads.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 4