HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff


Main point of this is a noble one, Tony and Ian getting together for charity, to help fund the rebuilding of a music school in war-torn Gyumri, Armenia. These are two guys who know how happy music can make you, especially for those bitten by it as a kid. So the anchor is the pair of new studio tracks, first 'Out Of My Mind', a grinding, Egypto-Purple, Sabbath/Iommi solo slog, second (and opening the second disc), same sort of thick, dirty vibe with a l'il Middle East, but a little more acoustic and melodic. The rest of this 18 song grab-bag comprises a bewildering array of rarities, oddities, often sub-par album tracks, live stuff, drunken jams an' collaborations. Hugely raising the value is the big book that explains the origins and motivations of every quizzical inclusion. Also weirdly, not everything is an Iommi/Gillan thing. Some are just Ian from the far corners of his solo career and Tony, the same, highlights beyond the two new mountain moments being 'Slip Away' and 'Let It Down Easy' (man, raging, groovy metal - best thing on here) from Tony's Fused sessions with Glenn Hughes, and the blustery 'Easy Come Easy Go' from Ian and a bunch of blokes, including Y&T's wickedly awesome Leonard Haze. The 'Dick Pimple' Purple studio jam at the end is amusing as well, as is the inclusion of old Gillan classic 'No Laughing In Heaven' although it's played as straight as it could be. For the archaeologist type fan of these two hairy beast, i.e. those who are missing some of these mostly inconsequential bits and pieces.
Rating: 7.0


Joe Hasselvander is best known as Raven drummer these days but forsooth, he's a doom metal legend and a huge scholar of ancient metal. Back with a record under his coolest band moniker, Joe plays drums, guitar and sings on this super pro doom metal base-rounder, the Hasselvander sound finding grind between raw, minimalist recent Candlemass and similarly brain-bashing Cathedral, with percussive touches that remind one of Monster Magnet. The production is smartly olden and beholden, the drumming clanging like Bill Ward, and the vocals, varied and loaded with personal dynamic. Man, in fact everything on here is done packed with the knowledge on how to create a spooky, authentically aged vibe, including Troubled twin leads but only occasional and savage like the debut or The Skull. And then, assigning The Ninth Hour the weight it deserves, Joe's packed the artful booklet with photos, lyrics, and a dedication to Dickie Peterson, Mel Galley and Don Van Vliet-that there is one of the best I've seen, with the thanks list knocking it out of the park. Geez.
Rating: 8.5

Hard Reviews Page 3