Hard Reviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Abdullah - Abdullah

Somehow, this one never got moving for me. Abdullah play a slow doomy Americanized stoner rock, definitely going for mood over impetus, stacking large lethargic chords within a clear but powerful mix, underneath clean vocals from Jeff Shirilla. Cool lyrics though, a sort of spiritually pan-discipline and depressive tread on Trouble's worn path. But it's just too much of a slog, I guess designed for (loud) head-bowed contemplation. But after track after track of average riffs at below average speeds, I'm a blunted mess by the end of it, perhaps closer to the divine given the trippy booklet, but physically more than anything, ready for a nap. Note: tough grade, but we've all got to get together soon and raise our standards. Stone for stone's sake shouldn't be allowed to cut it the way it did in '97.
Rating 5.5

Geddy Lee - My Favourite Headache

Wanting to work while Rush is on hiatus, due mainly to personal tragedies within Neil Peart's life, Geddy teams up with longtime musical mind Ben Mink (kd lang, FM, Rush's Losing It) and a couple hotshot drummers (mainly Soundgarden/Pearl Jam kingpin Matt Cameron) for a record that sounds like fluid, earthy groovy Rush, still thankfully obliquely and haughty, a little loose, as if that weird tour with Primus had left a stain. The title (on one level) refers to Geddy's turbulent love affair with the muse, and one can sense like a 3D chessboard, Lee wrestling with hooks and phrasings and the mechanics of song. When something sticks it is hard-won but steadfast, and when it doesn't, you still soak up the textures in sheets that eventually wrap you efficiently if not exactly warmly. For Geddy isn't exactly a warm guy. When he's self-deprecating, he really isn't. You are intimidated and methinks he wants you to be. But that's OK. There's a place for Geddy's opaque philosophical nuggets, and it's a cool bed on which he's placed them, amounting to an organic, less hung-up version of a modern Rush album, songs that in total rather emanate than consist of definables and demarcations.
Rating 8

Hard Reviews Page 5