Search for the Hidden Gem (2012 – vol# 11)

Written by on October 25, 2012 in Music Reviews, October 25, 2012 - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2012 – vol# 11)

Thank goodness the election is almost done with so I can get back to caring about more pressing issues like building my doomsday bunker and preparing myself for 12/21/12.

Fist Fight in the Parking Lot

Style (Rock)

Fitting that a band with that name has an aggressive edge in their sound, which I like, but the energy level is slow and uninspiring and a big letdown.  It’s sort of like cutting the lawn strapped onto a 22HP John Deere D140 mower with a tight governor.  At first I’m all jacked up to cut the grass but no matter how hard I step on the gas pedal I can still only cut the grass so fast.  Vocally I like how Abby Krizner handles the responsibilities of a lead vocalist.  She’s got an attitude, spitting out lyrics cohesively and consistently in a range that fits the songs.  The flip-side however, nothing she’s spitting out is sticking around very long.  These songs are very similar to a bottle of economically priced pinot noir.  At the start the wine tastes wonderful but the flavor rinses off the palate quickly.  Musically, as a whole package, this is not geared for the long haul and my attention span is moving on.

Rating 2 (BTW, that really is a stupid band name)

West of Hell

“Spiral Empire”
Style (Metal)

I can’t remember the last CD, if ever there was one that came across my desk, from a New Zealand band.  When I think of music from New Zealand I can’t say heavy metal is what comes to mind but that’s how far reaching the metal influence is around the globe.  Good luck saying that about rap or country.  What immediately jumped out at me about West of Hell’s music is how strong the Iron Maiden influence is.  The songs are long, the tempo is rapid and intense; the musicianship is outstanding and consistent (very reminiscent of Maiden in every aspect); the vocals are powerfully projected to hit the guy at the back of the room square in the chest like a good vocalist should; and the song structure is very Maiden’esq.  Missing musically however is the much needed song with a little commercial appeal to bring more listeners and broadcasters to their CD.  I like what I hear (having been a Maiden fan since I was 13) so if the Iron Maiden sound is your cup of tea this is something worth checking out.

Rating 2 ½ (not bad)

Southside Stranglers

Style (Indie / Rock)

Despite my disdain for the band name and CD title, both of which I find rather trite, I’m on board with part of what I hear.  I dig the groove, the energy level, and the tone this little band from Wisconsin bangs out.  Across the board the guitar, bass, and drums are excellent, having that no-frills garage band with hard rock and punk influences appeal, and I’d definitely check these guys out live.  Individually, the guitar has that Les Paul guttural grind, the bass lines are rich and in the foreground (I especially dig them in “The Blood We Bleed”) and the drums are getting pounded like they should.  However, the parts I’m not onboard with are the vocals and the lyrics.  These two key ingredients are the iceberg to the music’s strong hull.  It’s a pity having such good music behind crappy lyrics and vocals.  Good thing I dug the music or this CD might have added to my flinging ammunition to hit the paper boy.

Rating 2 ½ (OK for a 7 song EP)


“Out of the Dark”
Style (Alt Rock)

The musical ocean is an enormous monster ripe with wayward fry drifting along hoping someone nibbles upon them.  Too bad there’s nothing to nibble on here.  Formulas are great for making chili, a killer margarita, and an Elton John soundtrack.  Musically Tigerface’s formula needs creative work to develop a style.  As it stands right now they exhibit all the annoying traits I find in most alternative rock bands – guitars without any character tuned for the rafters, emotionless one octave vocals forcibly sung like the dude’s getting ready to blow a gasket, and that annoying ass white noise coming from the cymbals crashing throughout.  Oh, and don’t think the overly produced vocals with too much sustain to add fullness is being overlooked either.  The bright side to this EP  is it only has 7 tracks.  Honestly though, it’s a few too many.  With the song writing commercially vacuous their appeal is translucent.  Maybe with a band name like Tigerface they’ll get noticed by tweens and young teenagers who read Tiger Beat magazine for the Justin Bieber puke news.

Rating ½ (swing and a total miss)