Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Leadfoot - Take A Look

The Music Cartel is a recent assemblage that has more or less stuck to stoner rock of high quality and distinction, Leadfoot (formed in '93 by Karl Agell and Phil Swisher, both ex-Corrosion Of Conformity) fitting that description while taking a right turn into a pleasing US rock 'n' roll vibe. The result is a record that only puts a cursory glance to the Sabs, sounding more like a doomier version of Kiss' Hotter Than Hell, adding a little Nuge, a little Mountain and a vague whiff of heavy Urge Overkill. These are big rock star riffs and even bigger melodies, left to blister within a mix that is highly electric and reverent of Tim Haisman's enthusiastic percussive bashings. So the songs get going and the songs get hooky and Agell does a dynamic, personable job of the vocals, which usually drive the choruses towards anthemic but on a compressed basis, like a good basement jam on a beer buzz. Note: the band's second, after a '97 debut called Bring It On.
Rating 7.5

Angel Dust - Bleed
(Century Media)

That creepy mascot is back for Angel Dust's second record in the '90s (the band also had two in the '80s!), and the sound is a similar power metal off the beaten path, rougher, gruffer and simply ballsier than the pussy power of the Tolkein, chalice and leprechaun bunch. That doesn't mean they don't use keyboards, because they do, only Angel Dust zig when they zag, going with the odd prominent synth, a bit of Jon Lord, a bit of bald electric piano, none of it used the way other power metallers use it. But the big story is the mountainous guitar terrain, further lumberjacked by the authoritative vocals of Dirk Thurisch. Well-known metal god Siggi Bemm produces the thing (he only engineered Borders Of Reality), and does a fat stadium rock job of it, just enough grit to keep it metal, the perfect man for the band's thick but oddly graceful songs. I dare say a bit of tourmates Nevermore might have rubbed off on these guys, Angel Dust convincing the listener of the dramatic sweep found within their tales, writing songs that are epic in emotion but also pretty damn immediate.
Rating 8.5

Hard Reviews Page 5