CD REVIEWS ISSUE 11 Page 4
By Bob Nalbandian
El Sombrero! is the second release from this Austin, Texan quartet. Described as ZZ Top meets Black Sabbath and the Melvins, Hognose blend southern-fried hillbilly stoner rock with heavy-laden doom-metal grooves, which seems to be the ever-growing trend down south and, no doubt, Austin is the hub of it all. Perhaps it's the attention derived from the growing success of the South By Southwest convention (which is seemingly one of the few music conventions left in the US that stills caters primarily to heavy rock) or the fact that stoner-rock labels such as Arclight and its adjoining recording studio, Republic (headed by label co-founder David Elizondo), are based in the heart of the city. And much like label mates SuperHeavyGoatAss (see review) and Amplified Heat, Hognose offer nothing extraordinarily new or original, displaying the same style of raw, guitar-driven acid rock with mediocre vocals buried underneath (a good portion of this CD is instrumental), but needless to say, they do rock pretty damn hard. Highlights include the trax "Weedbilly," "Warren Oates" and "El Chamuco."
Perhaps one of the best-named artists in the stoner-rock genre, SuperHeavyGoatAss release their (I believe) debut CD 60,000 Years on Arclight later this month. I find the GoatAss to be one of Arclight's finest artists, displaying the traditional doom-boogie metal associated with the Austin rock scene but the musicianship is tighter and the songs are a bit more structured and melodic than it's predecessors. Although the production and overall sound is typical of (producer/co-label owner) Elizondo's previous works, the melodies and grooves are stronger giving the band more power and professionalism which sets them apart from the majority of the lot. I strongly recommend a dose of SuperHeavyGoatAss to get your heart pounding and blood flowing. Good stuff.
THE IMBUING IS COMING
The first 30-40 seconds of this CD really got me going...I thought, "great shit-powerful, melodic vocals with great metallic riffs." And then it all goes to shit! Why in the hell do all these lame-ass nu-metal bands feel the need that in order to be 'hardcore' and 'badasss' you must sing like you've got a twelve -inch pipe shoved up your ass? Not only is it asinine, but it's been done before so many goddamn times. It's a real shame vocalist Sean Kane insists on spewing out such verbal absurdity because the musicianship is tight as hell and the riffs are brutal. Obviously influenced by Fear Factory's trademark style of combining death-metal roars with melodic vocal melodies, but the fact is, Kane's vocals are much more irritating than Burton C. Bell at his worst. No matter how good the music may be on this CD (and it's pretty damn good) I just can't stomach the vocals. You can call me old-fashioned or whatever but I just don't get bands like Gizmachi. And it's not that I don't appreciate certain death metal or grindcore (which I've been accused of many a times), I remember the day Venom released their In League With Satan single in '81 and when emerging death metal bands like Slayer, Destruction, Hellhammer and Sodom followed soon after...the vocals obviously were far from good but they were very original at the time and suited the music. But in the case of most new grindcore and black/death metal bands-please for the sake of God...or Satan...do something different! Now with that said, here goes my courtesy plug...if you're into bands like Slipknot (coincidentally, the disc was produced by M. Shawn Crahan, aka Clown, aka #6 of Slipknot) and the like, this CD is for you.
Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 11 Page 5