By Bob Nalbandian

Soundtrack To the Apocalypse
Steel Cage
3.0 EYES Snotty, loogie-hockin' punk rock without an ounce of "pop" in its tattooed, bruised, dirt-caked body! A short, sweet kick to the head of hooky, but grimy, fast-paced punk with those loopy 80's Greg Ginn solos, off-the-rails rhythms and positively bratty vocals about the usual dope, guns and f**king in the streets agenda. Nothing mind-blowing, but there's some great songs on here ("Diary of a Whore," "Crime Spree," "3 Seconds of Pleasure") and a scrappy energy that can't be denied. And should you doubt their cred, the chick from the Applicators guests on four songs, and Jeff from Antiseen bellows on some live hidden tracks. "Fueled by beer, possessed by Satan" - hell yeah! Horns up. Keith Bergman

Brand New Sin
Now Or Never
3.0 EYES

If the rock world is gonna let death metal guys get away with forming Soil, I'm guessing Brand New Sin won't hear too much about shedding their hardcore pedigrees to make a Corrosion of Conformity record. And hey, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, or a bad result - after all, COC graces us with records about as often as Floridians f**k up elections these days, so it's nice to get a fix of that catchy, swampy, wiseblood vibe. And, if we're being fair, Brand New Sin's debut record actually smashes the last COC soundwise, with a much grittier, more real crunch and better, less processed vocals. "My World" could be a hit single in this post-Down world, with its smidge of Hammond organ in just the right spot, while songs like "The Oath" and "Did You?" get a little weightier, appealing to the Black Label Society fan at the bar. The lyrics to ballad "Missin You" are so bad ya hope they're kidding, but musically, the song could become a shitkicker prom anthem, suitable for opening up any Skynyrd show. With pro mixmaster Michael Barbiero brought in to fatten up "My World" and the nu-metal tinged "SPP," and a web site full of "most added at active rock radio" blurbs, there's more than a whiff of the contrived about Brand New Sin. But you know what? Who f**king cares - they deliver the goods, and even if the long-bandied "return of rock" is closer, it still ain't here yet. I'd rather see these guys get a payday playing some killer riffs than watch another six bippy pop-punk bands clowning on metal and swinging from Green Day's ballsack. Bottom line, Brand New Sin is a strong debut, and anyone who worships at the altar of Pantera, BLS, Down, or COC is gonna love 'em. Keith Bergman

Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 7 Page 5