Hard Reviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Monster Voodoo Machine - Direct Reaction Now!
(Dr. Dream)

After more ups and downs than Deep Purple's career, Adam Sewell is back with a full-length record of harder, loose goose metal rock, less industrial save for those robot vocals, more like gas-huffin' Mudhoney or even Monster Magnetized Speedball. Quite a dirt-faced about-face but it's cool to see that there was a fist-fighting rock band underneath those circuit boards. Simple, grungy but highly energetic and playful, consider this one a party record for those looking to lubricate their late night groove with a little happy juice.
Rating 7

Entombed - Same Difference
(Music For Nations)

Entombed is dead, long live Entombed. Or something like that, as L-G and Alex trash a beautiful, body-burning sound that was all theirs and no one else's, and make what amounts to a cheeky Corrosion Of Conformity album. Many writers in my sorry circle of freakbuds hate this thing, but I kinda think they did an OK job of the new, stripped-down sound. No more a death 'n' roll band than Nelson, the new Entombed have gone sorta tribal and grungy, with nods to alternative, punk, plugged-up goth and well, whatever Metallica is these days. Main determining factors were a new drummer, new producer, new studio, the use of pre-production for the first time, tours with diverse acts, and the passage of four years time with respect to the writing of To Ride. That's a lot of baggage, and it's all splayed here on these caveman rock experiments, many driven by ham-fisted basslines, questionable textures, and a conspicuous lack of wailing axes. Which is how the band wanted it, more drums and bass, less a wall of guitars. Some of it's pretty damn catchy (Clauses and Kick In The Head), but four or five of these are just dreary and unheavy. And this new production just doesn't cut the jugular like the last couple o' hotfoots. Engagingly dirty, still pretty damn heavy, but one big sorry fact remains: despite exclamations of same difference, this is a radical departure, and one that has in effect eradicated the band who made one of the top metal records of '97: To Ride, Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth!
Rating 7

Soilent Green - Sewn Mouth Secrets

There's always been a pretty unhealthy buzz about this band, but now the buzz just got louder, as the soiled ones have bolted down their sludge and replaced it with a deathly hi-fidelity thrash and crash, sorta like Pantera on steroids, in the blue haze of a Cypress Hill backstage meet 'n' greet. Those cool eccentric vibes that we see in other southern grind acts are still readily apparent, Soilent Green wigging out like COC or Eyehategod, only like I say, way more disciplined, production unto Acid Bath levels, the playing, really very much like Pantera at their white noisiest. Package this psychedelic faceblast with sin-draped Victorian artwork and much lyrical grist to ponder, and you've got one of the more enigmatic death machines of the millennium.
Rating 8

Kittens - The Night Danger Album
(Sonic Unyon)

Deep into a barbeque-bruising career of drool, Winnipeg's Kittens have screeched to a stop to make this thick, sick, short (17 minutes) gumbo of stoner metal just before heading back to school. Expect more of the same Fu'er than you Fu Manchu, all laced heavily with cowboy-kickin', cow punchin', concrete-flavoured grooveboat mania. Brutal Truth and uh, Supersuckers at a woofer-stressed 16 rpm.
Rating 7

Sinister - Aggressive Measures
(Nuclear Blast)

An ever so palpable upratchet in terms of speed and pitbull bite mark the removal of frontman Mike for a guy named Erik (no difference vocally). But for whatever reason, gone are any elements of the purely academic, as tracks like Into The Forgotten, Enslave The Weak, and especially Chained In Reality (until mosh) actually sound like songs built for human consumption, riffs aflame like Slayer hopped up on Jolt cola, or those really catchy chunks from recent Kreator or Napalm Death. A trenchant half hour of death at the top of its game.
Rating 7.5