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Music Reviews: Steve Comte & the Crazy Truth, While Heaven Wept, Forest Stream, Megadeth & Lynryd Skynyrd

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My how time flies when you are filing your days with the sound of music. The hours quite literally fly by as my “review music” playlist spins away.

CD Reviews

Steve Comte & the Crazy Truth: s/t

For those who like the troubadour sub-glam types, this lot deliver. Part Wildhearts (whose leader Ginger spent time in New York doing his thing) and Tyla and a whole bunch of New York attitude, this group is crude, rude and rocking with tones of prescience and angst. This is one of those releases that just evokes a feeling of sticky floors, cheap watery beer and sweat-box clubs. Its down and dirty rock & roll at its best.

There are so many bands peddling this sort of shtick, yet few pull it off so well as this lot. You can tell they are the real deal. Check out tracks oozing with sleaze like “Gypsy Cab” and “Strumpetheartedmonkeygirl”. You feel dirty just listening to them. There is very little to fault with this release. Its everything you wanted from the genre and none of what you loath. This lot scream New York bands like the Ramones.

Needless to say this is just a taster that makes you crave seeing them live. This is clearly a new sleaze band to watch out for and there is not a damn thing wrong with that. If you have any interest in the genre whatever, do yourself a favor and seek this sucker out.

While Heaven Wept: Vast Oceans Lachrymose

This is called progressive epic doom metal, whatever the heck that means. Its possible that the definition of the genre depends on who you are. What it actually means is that you get to hear some great progressive metal done with an interesting twist of doom tinge. There is quite a variety of music here ranging from stuff that reminds me of Dream Theater at times, but at other times there is an atmospheric almost dark-wave ambient feel about it.

While some might accuse this band of a bit of a kitchen-sink approach to this release, it all sticks together nicely. It's an epic, very symphonic feeling that attempts to take the listener along with it that meanders through this release. There is a clear attempt to make this a distinct album that contains elements known to us, but at the same time is fresh and interesting. Not surprising then that the band have been around for 20 years.

The album is clearly one that needs to be heard in its entirety rather than as piece meal. If you have the time and are in the right mood, this is a very rewarding release from an obviously talented band. Sit back, relax and enjoy the mellifluous ride.

Forest Stream: The Crown of Winter

I suppose it’s the time of year really, as the shadows lengthen, the leaves fall and the temperature gets colder this sort of dark dreary music becomes more attractive. This bunch come from Russia and recently opened for Katatonia while the band was touring their homeland. The music evokes memories of the early days of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema. Old Opeth comes to mind at times as well. There is a juxtaposition between clean doom/dark-wave vocals and that of the more extreme black metal grunts.

There is something about Forest Stream that sets them apart from many of the current bands treading the same ground. Its quite possible that this is because of their Russian background giving them a different perspective. As with many German bands and the hidden oompah band, there is a Russian tinge to this music. It just evokes a feeling of the Russian steppes in the middle of winter. Blear, bleary and remote comes to mind.

Just check out the title track for an example of some clever prog-metal mixed with lashings of serious black metal. This is none of that grunt and groan that can be found in the scene so often. Textures, clever riffing and a great mix add to the flavor of this album.

Megadeth: Endgame

Many wondered whether Dave still had it since he cleaned up his life and became a practicing Christian. Not that this hurt Alice Cooper at all, but still there were doubts the new version of Mustaine would be able to sneer as well as the ole’ version. On this release he certainly has no problem with getting across his particular brand of Mega-angst.

I quite enjoyed his take on the automatic weapons fueled bank-robbery in L.A. that went awry several years ago. “44 Minutes” has a great line that says “bring a pocket-knife to a firefight” which will amuse advocates of the 2nd amendment. The song reminds of the days of “Peace Sells” and “Wake Up Dead.” Metal commentary rarely gets as good as this. Then we have the awesome title track with its pondering of the so-called end times that many of the religious amongst us are excited about. The take on the “surveillance” society and “new world order” correctly sums up the conspiracy theorists current obsessions.

Now some Megadeth purists might bawl at the progressiveness of the track “The Part of Letting Go… Sealed with a Kiss” with its symphonic overtones that would not be out of place on any symphonic metal masterpiece of the last decade or so. The great thing about Dave is that he could give a toss what people think and just does whatever the hell he wants. Its great to see Mustaine delivering the goods.

Lynyrd Skynryd: God & Guns

Those who heard this album before its release were murmuring about just how good it is. Now call me a cynic, but I have heard those so many times it never moves me much. Boy, was I wrong. This is simply the best post-airplane crash release this band have done. Its as if the remaining member(s) channeled all those who have been in the band over the years.

They even managed to lose a few more members during the recording of the album, with only Gary Rossington left as an original member. The track “Skynyrd Nation” sums up this feeling of the collective historical band reaching back to their roots and delivering something special.

Then again a Van Zant (Johnny) on the mic helps with the whole vibe of the thing. The band have truly captured the angst felt by many “normal” Americans with this album. From the matter-of-fact principled stand of “God & Guns” to the nostalgic examination of “Simple Life,” this band is making a statement about something they believe in, as they also do on “That Ain’t my America.” The theme is continued on the track country track “Southern Ways” which tells the full circle experience of the band going back to their roots. The album is a musical history of the band and those that were part of it. The road ballad “Unwrite this Song” shows that the band have got soul as well.

There is a special version of the album with three live tracks including the last  hit “Red, White and Blue” and a couple of oldies in the form of “Call Me the Breeze” and, of course, “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Many discount the current version of the band because of its lack of original members. This is a big mistake. This is a great Skynryd album that deserves to be thought of with their classic releases.

Stay safe and keep rocking.

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