By Bob Nalbandian

The Walls Have Eyes
Z Records

Jeff Pilson's new solo band [apparently he's had this band throughout his Dokken years] War And Peace finds this one-time bassist performing all the instruments, vocals, as well as production duties on "The Walls Have Eyes". Although Pilson's lead vocals are mediocre at best, he somehow manages to churn out impressive harmonies, not quite King's X, but effective. The tunes are decent, the melodies are solid, and the riffs are, at times, surprisingly heavy. Ranging from the '60s influence of The Beatles and Cream to contemporary rock/metal, War And Peace also display an obvious Zeppelin tinge overflowing which Page-influenced riffs. Some of the highlights include "City in Flame," and "Stranger in My Own Land." Other tracks, such as "No One is Listening," shows Pilson over-obviously trying to compete with nu-metal artists as he practically lifts the opening drum-beat of Disturbed's "Down With The Sickness" whereas "Desperate Hearts" shows Pilson desperately trying to hold on to his Dokken fanbase with a fluffy power-ballad. The 14 tracks all sound pretty much the same after a while, with the exception of the few strong cuts previously mentioned, the rest are simply fillers. Nothing that hasn't been said and done before, but I do admire Pilson for his D.I.Y. efforts and I'm sure there are several fans out there that would agree.

Dead Teenager Records

Now this I like...this I really like. Punk-metal at its finest! Flame Thrower combines the late '70s Los Angeles punk with quality thrash-metal. What predecessors such as Zeke and (REO) Speedeeler may have lacked in extreme power, Flame Thrower more than makes up for. From the opening ass-kicker "Super Bee" to the closer "Getting Signed," Flame Thrower takes the listener on an all-out fast and vigorous metallic onslaught. All 16 tracks (each track, except two, are under 3 minutes long with the disc totaling slightly over 30 minutes, in true punk rock fashion) attack the listener without giving you a mere second to catch your breath. This here is quality shit - the way this style of music is intended to be. My favorites are the aforementioned "Super Bee," the appropriately titled "Coked Up" (whether or not you do coke, you'll feel the rush!), the Motorhead-ish "Drowning & Empty," "Mad" (great old-school punk-ranting ala Suicidal Tendencies), "I Want It All," and "Find A Way." In fact, every song on this disc totally pummels my ass!

Flame Thrower's debut is easily the greatest punk-metal album I've heard in the past twenty years. Don't expect diversity (every song is equally fast-paced) and don't expect winded solos or nice melodies, this is punk-metal at its extreme, it is what it is...relentless! In the same way AC/DC's "Let There Be Rock" delivered that mercilessly raw, metallic assault in the late '70s, Motorhead's "Ace Of Spades" ripped your face off in the early '80s, and Pantera introduced their "Vulgar Display Of Power" in the early '90s, Flame Thrower continue in this tradition of relentless balls-out rampage for the new millennium! I strongly urge you to buy this disc!

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