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Music Reviews: Christ Agony, Clutch, Freedom Call, Machine Head and Some Indie

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Another good selection of CDs this week ranging from the clever black metal to the rather interesting indie. Nothing terrible, which is most gratifying for a change.

CD Reviews

Christ Agony: Elysium

They are players in the Polish underground who have evolved from fairly standard black metal into something far more interesting and subtle. They play a rather interesting form of neo-prog black metal that seems to be becoming more prevalent these days. This is a re-release of their 1999 release and it does great justice to the CD. Despite the creepy logo does not reflect what is herein. No Morbid Angel histrionics here, that is for sure.

This is rather good metal (of the black variety) with great playing and a rather good singer as opposed to the standard grunter. Eleven tracks filled of excellent metal that deserves a good listen. Forget the dubious name and just enjoy the metal.

Clutch: From Beale Street to Oblivion

Lauded by those who have gotten a sneaky listen this, this is Clutch at their absolute best. If you can imagine Black Sabbath if they were American with a taste of Skynrd and Black Label Society, then you might get a general idea of what is on display here. It's great bar-room heavy rock with a twist of humour and oodles of Jack Daniels. I defy any hard rock fan not to enjoy every track on this disc. I quite enjoyed "The Devil & Me" with its bluesy tale and clever rumblings.

I you want some clever humour how about "When Vegans Attack" or even "My Shiny Cadillacness", this is one of the best hard rock releases you will hear all year. Believe the critics this one is an absolute keeper. It shall remain on my playlist for quite some time to come.

Freedom Call: Dimensions

It has become rather trendy these days to bash power metal and its adherents for various reasons. I think one of the gripes from some is they don't take themselves too seriously when writing lyrics. Yes, there is always the trouble of non-native English speakers trying to write music. FC is no exception for a few bits of Helloween-esque goofiness. Then again they toss up a few cracking tracks like "Queen of My World".

Then there is a rather good closer in the form of "Far Away", which is rather pleasant indeed. While this CD is not exactly essential by any means, it will fill the gaps as you wait for the next release from Helloween or Blind Guardian. This is good stuff and it puts a smile on my face.

Machine Head: The Blackening

Much anticipated and hyped, this latest release from Machine Head sees them truly returning to their original thrash metal sound of their debut Burn My Eyes. During the 90s Machine Head got all trendy and drifted into nu-metal losing quite a few fans and sales all the same. Clearly a band that see old Metallica and Megadeth as their template; Machine Head have even recorded an ode in the form of a cover of "Battery".

While the new Trivium is Metallica's album that should have followed the Black Album, this is the Metallica album if they had never drifted into more progish metal. With corkers likes "Wolves" and "Aesthetics of Hate" the band are clearly trying to tap into the thrash metal revival. Now I have to admit that I don't necessarily see why this album has been getting such kudos as there are others peddling a similar fare with a bit more originality. However, if you want a solid thrash metal album then you cannot go far wrong with Robb Flynn and company; a good return to their previous form.

David Judson Clemmons & the Fullbliss: Yes, Sir

Not normally my penchant, but this is some rather good alternative tinged rock from an obvious talented artist and band. Melodic and soaring this is the perfect music to get you going in the morning. DJS has eschewed the normal whinge rock that is so prevalent on the indie scene and gone for some quite perky stuff. This is his 10th CD and it includes several videos, including two album tracks and an interview. From the title track to the end you can hear lots of passion, ability, and soul. There is experience and quality that shows, no matter what kind of music you tend to enjoy. I found myself declaring out load "this is really rather good" quite inadvertently.

So there is your lot for this early spring time. All the CD reviews are good, just a few that I recommend more than the others. As always stay safe, rocking and check out live music whenever and where ever you can find it.

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About Marty Dodge

  • jerry

    good call on the Clutch album. I totally agree.

  • I need to check out the new Machine Head…