CD REVIEWS ISSUE 16 Page 3
By Bob Nalbandian
ROBOT LORDS OF TOKYO
Whiskey, Blood & Napalm
This is the second CD from the Ohio based power-trio and it is light years ahead of their debut (which was a rock solid effort). Whiskey, Blood & Napalm features ten bone-crushing anthems fusing classic metal, European power-metal and stoner rock with many songs leaning heavily on the whiskey swilling southern-style metal of bands like COC and BLS but still shows a great degree of class and melody lacking in many of today's metal bands. As opposed to their debut, which featured cover songs from UFO (great version of "Mother Mary"), Motley Crue, and Motorhead, Whiskey, Blood & Napalm features only one cover, a very cool rendition of the obscure KISS track "Larger Than Life." The nucleus of the Robot Lords is drummer/guitarist Rick Retzler and vocalist/guitarist Paul Jones. The band is joined by bassist/co-producer Joe Viers and Beau Vanbibber (rhythm guitar) as well as an array of session musicians including Steve Theado, Terry Adams, Steve Pollick, Rob Johnson, Neil Zaza and others. The production from Viers is first-rate...powerful, crisp, and with a lot of punch, something severely lacking in this genre known for its substandard muddy and mid-rangy sound. All ten tracks are strong as hell but the real gem is the track "Bring It On Down" - this song has an absolutely stunning groove-ridden riff underlined with incredibly soulful slide guitar work reminiscent of classic metal greats UFO (Chapman era) and Blackfoot highlighted by some tasteful B-3 Hammond Organ work from Nate Hollman giving it a bit of that Purple/Grand Funk essence. Vocalist Paul Jones absolutely shines on this track! This song clearly shows that Paul is one of the most powerful new vocalists in metal today. "Shadows And Blood" is another standout track with a doom-metal intro that leads into a cool Sabbath Bloody Sabbath semi-copped riff. Some of my other faves include "Deathwagon" (stellar lead from Pollick!) and the two closers, "Shakedown" and "Comes Eternal Night" both showing heavy '70s influence of Grand Funk meets Sabbath with the latter showcasing a shredding lead from guest guitarist Marc Leist. I do prefer the classic metal styling of the Tokyo Lords to the stoner-metal guise but it is greatly evident that this band has vastly improved since their debut and they're zoning in on their distict niche. I sincerely feel this band is on their way to greatness; all that is needed is for the Lords to hone in on their songwriting and focus a bit more on originality. But after hearing the bands progression thus far, I'm certain their next CD will be absolutely stellar. If you have trouble finding this CD, hit up the band at www.robotlordsoftokyo.com.
Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 16 Page 4