CD REVIEWS ISSUE 14 Page 6
By Bob Nalbandian
Tonight We Drink...
Tonight We Drink...Tomorrow We Battle the Evil At Hand is the debut release from this Austin, Texas quartet. This CD (the forth release this year from the Austin based indie label Arclight) features 10 interesting tracks that combine melodic '70s-style progressive rock with '90s era alt-rock. Think Pink Floyd and early Supertramp meets REM, Janes Addiction and Smashing Pumpkins. Thankfully this band leans more toward a melodic-progressive sound rather than the copious grunge sound that is heard far too much in today's rock music. Mixed in with '60s-style vocal harmonies ala The Beatles and The Byrds and layers of heavy guitar tracks atop cool drum/bass grooves, Magnet School make for quite a unique and fascinating sound. Duel guitarist/vocalists Michael J. Wane and Mark Lord sing well together combining pleasantly smooth yet powerful and concise vocal harmonies meshed with tasteful, reverberated guitar overtones (similar to The Edge on early U2 albums). Austin, Texas certainly has developed musically over the past couple decades. No southern-rock or bluegrass here; this is well-crafted British-style heavy modern-rock. Highlight tracks include; "The Ghost Of Duane," "Colettalicious," and perhaps the strongest cut, "Seventensplit." Not particularly my cup of tea but there's no denying this band has what it takes to join the big leagues.
Room Full Of Sinners
The Cursed is a new project featuring some familiar names in metal, most notably Overkill vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and former Hades guitarist Dan Lorenzo. The band also features Job The Raver on bass and Mike Cristi on drums. Don't expect Overkill sounding thrash-metal on this, The Cursed likens heavy groove-laden guitar riffs atop gloomy slow-pounding rhythms. But even more surprising is Blitz's vocal performance, opting for a fuller, deeper and more haunting approach which is a vast departure from the screams and screeches that are prevalent particularly with the early Overkill releases. The music displays bass-heavy, Masters Of Reality era Sabbath-influenced grooves displayed in songs like "Queen Of the Down" (with an opening riff sounding like "Children Of The Grave" on ludes) and "One Time" (with a riff somewhat reminiscent of "Lord Of This World"). But unlike the slew of stoner-rock bands out there copping old Sabbath riffs The Cursed attack this sound with a much more soulful and groovier approach proving more authentic than the amateurish trite bullshit delivered from the majority of today's '70s throw-backs. The production (courtesy of Mike Koenig) is divine, exhibiting a loose, dark and ultra-heavy sound that suits The Cursed perfectly and keeps the listener continuously pounding their head. The Cursed are a great new project and hopefully one that will continue to record and release CDs in the future. Highly recommended.
Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 14 Page 7