By Bob Nalbandian

Rock Solid Entertainment

The debut from San Bernidino, CA based band Arsyn follows the current industrial metal trend of such bands as Digital Underground, Rob Zombie, and Static X (yet, not nearly as heavy or powerful). Combining melodic, commercial choruses with industrial riffs, this CD sounds somewhat similar to the latest Alice Cooper CD, Brutal Planet. Although their bio claims musical influences of Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and Metallica, I hear none of the above in their music (with the exception of a slightly stolen riff from Metallica's "The Thing That Should Not Be" on the track "Psycho Super Society"). Arsyn sound like your typical '80s rock band, ala Bon Jovi/Autograph, trying their darnedest to be hip and modern-sounding. Not only is this examplified in their unoriginal music and cheesy lyrics, but also in their promo pic and the fact that the CD was produced by ex-House Of Lords members Lanny Cordola and Chuck Wright, and mixed by famed pop producer Pat Regan. But, hey, it's worked for Orgy, and there are obvious musical similarities. Regardless of their background, the production is first-rate and (some of) the songs are pretty catchy, but the vocalist, Collin Whalen, is week, sounding very ameturish singing this style of music. It's obvious to me that he comes from a commerical/pop rock background and is literally is forcing himself to sing in a harsh manner and use profanities he's probably never used before. It's not surprising that the band sounds best, and most comfortable, on the track "Succubus Blues," a typical blues-sounding, whisky swilling '80s rocker, with the tradtional harmonica, blues licks, and machismo lyrics. This song may not be as "trendy," but this is what they do well, and obviously should stick to least it sounds sincere.

Situation Dangerous
Magna Carta

As I previously stated, I'm not particularly a big fan of industrial fusion/progressive rock, but there are certain instrumental CDs that stand out from the rest of the pack, and the lasted disc from Bozzio Levin Stevens is certainly one of them. Featuring drum legend Terry Bozzio, bass wizzard Tony Levin, and the highly underrated, former Billy Idol axe-slinger Steve Stevens, this band is an aspiring musician's wet dream come true. This is truly an outstanding, well-rounded instrumental CD, and believe it or not, kept me entertained and intriged through its entirety. The shining star on this release is Stevens, especially his superb flamenco playing on the tracks "Spiral" and "Tziganne," two brilliant songs with beautiful Spanish overtones. It gave me a whole new respect for Mr. Stevens, I had no idea of his incredible versitality. I give him such praise even after he blew off an interivew with me (according to his publicist, Stevens didn't want to be associated with any "heavy metal" publications!). Oh well, his loss...I still dig his playing. What I enjoy most about this CD is that it's so damn's all about extremes. Take the opening track, "Dangerous," with it's furious metallic (sorry Stevens, I just can't refrain from using that word!) drum/guitar riff that flows into subtle dynamics then revolves back into the aggression. Other cool tracks include the Satriani-ish "Crash," and "Tragic,"showcasing both Stevens and Bozzio's brilliance. A must for musicians and a must for music fans.