By Bob Nalbandian

Don't Give Me Names
Gun/BMG This is the German quartet's follow-up to their 2-million selling debut Proud Like A God. Signed to the German indie label Gun (a BMG subsidiary), this CD has recently been released in the US (on RCA) with bonus live tracks. Unfortunately the Apes seemed to have lost their edge on this sophomore effort. This is apparent in the vocal department, with vocalist Sandra Nasic sounding more like Gwen Stephani than the raging harsh-throated chick from the first record. This band is massive in Germany and other parts of Europe and they started to make waves here in the states with their single "Open Your Eyes" from their debut. Unfortunately none of the tracks off this album are nearly as raw and powerful as that tune.

The musicianship is quite impressive, especially the rhythm section of funk-fueled bassist Stefan Ude and drummer Dennis Poschwatta, but, for the most part, the songs are weak and the lyrics are lame. The saving grace is the solid musicianship and fine production from Wolfgang Stach, without which, this record would be as bland as the singer's appearance (sorry 'bout that, Sandra.)

I feel this band tries too hard to mix several musical styles rather than just focusing on what they do best, playing aggressive, hard-driven rock. Much like the female-led British hardrock band Skunk Anansie (also huge in Europe but yet to crack the US), Guano Apes only have a few stand out tracks and the rest are rubbish. The songs that do stand out on this CD include "Innocent Greed," "No Speech," the funk-metal "Dodel Up," and the hypnotic, symphonic "Anne Claire" (a great tune.)

In conclusion, I much prefer the bands darker, heavier music of their first CD (songs like "Open Your Eyes" and the mysterious "Maria".) This CD is too damn happy sounding.

Metal Blade

Pineappleskunk is the sophomore effort from King's X frontman (vocalist/basist) Doug Pinnick's side project Poundhound. A vast improvement over their debut, "Massive Grooves...", both musically and production-wise. Pinnick definitely shines on this CD, cranking out neckbreakin' guitar riffs and killer bass grooves as well as soulful, powerful vocals. Similar to Pinnick's "other" side project Supershine (with ex-Trouble guitar whiz, Bruce Franklin), Pineappleskunk delivers a '70s-ish acid-metal sound which is much heavier, darker, and "groovier" than the King's X releases.

The production is very strong as well, it's obvious Pinnick (who wrote, arranged, produced, and performed all instruments except drums, which were performed by King's X drummer Jerry Gaskill) spent much more time in his home studio on this CD than on the PH debut which sounded muddy in comparison.

The strongest cuts are "Jumpin'," which has a great early Megadeth-esque riff atop an ultra-heavy bass/drum groove. The smooth rhythmic vocals then burst into a powerhouse chorus that only Pinnick can deliver with such soul and conviction. Also a great Hendrix-influenced lead performed by Pinnick on this one (a very soulful guitar player!) "Oh My Soul" and "Higher" both have great tribal-sounding guitar/drum grooves and incredibly catchy chorus and melodies that will stick in your head for days.

Pinnick truly shines on this CD, both vocally and musically! Other highlights on this 16-track CD include the opening track "Somedays," "Mind," and "Pineapple."

Shockwaves CD Reviews Issue 4 Page 6