Monthly Archives: September 2010

Vulgar Display of Power-PANTERA-1992


The guitar weilded by Dimebag Darrell is like a drilling machine which hammers away at your head. Phil Anselmo sounds like a grizzled ugly son of a bitch. The band sounds like hard rock just a hundered times uglier and stripped down. This came to be known as “groove metal”. Take Walk for example. It’s just a two note riff and still kicks so much damn ass, it makes me raise my fist and thump along every single time. Dimebag’s lead breaks are ugly albeit very melodic, proper scales and all. Song titles include “Fucking Hostile”. Tempos keep changing, sometimes it’s a slow thump along ground your butt into the ground, sometimes they break out into thrash and just roar by.

Perhaps the best review is given in the title itself, coz this is a vulgar display of power and often nothing else. Pantera could have been much better if they had not got carried away by the “Lets play fucking metal, and kick ass, melody and soft-loud dynamics are for pussies” shtick.  To see what I mean, check out the highlight of the album called “This Love” to see what they could do when not completely focused on “kicking ass”.  As it is, this is a classic album and a must own for metal fans. Classic 90’s metal. Get it now if you haven’t heard it. Even though I have never found Pantera a very consistent band, as the old cliché goes, when they rock, they rock.

Recommended Tracks: – Walk, A New Level, This Love

-Baba T


A Thousand Suns-LINKIN PARK-2010


What do I remember from albums like Hybrid Theory and Meteora? Songs like In the End, Breaking the Habit, Numb, Faint and From the Inside. To be more exact, those are the only songs I remember because the rest of the stuff was crap. It was. Yes it was. Those albums were formulaic and inconsistent, the hallmarks of a one hit (or in this case a 5 hit?) wonder band. Those albums were the perfect material for sniveling teens whining about how they don’t get enough pocket money. Juvenile stuff. However, the soft loud dynamic did work on a couple of occasions, Chester’s wail did give you kicks, the rap guy did rap well, and the guitars did their simplistic cock rock riffing well.

Enter “A Thousand Suns”. Exit Linkin Park, a Hit Top 40 Machine, Enter Linkin-Trying to be Artsy-Park. They have completely abandoned their hit formula in favour of a more piano and electronica beat based sound complete with the mandatory effects and sound samples. The tracks segue into each other and clearly this is supposed to be a concept album. There is the “I am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds” speech of Oppenheimer in one of the tracks, the Mario Savio speech on machines etc. You can see that Linkin Park is trying to target a different audience altogether, and trying to make a more lasting impact, though god knows they have already done that with the rap metal approach they created in the beginning of the last decade. Or rather, popularized, I guess.

So how does it work for me? Well, I actually sat down and listened to the whole darned thing from the first to the last. Big up to Linkin Park, I can actually try to take them seriously now. On the flip side, there is nothing very memorable here. We have concepts and lyrics and beats, but the whole thing is not very interesting or unusual. The melodies are generic and predictable, and there is nothing that rouses me out and makes me want to listen up more clearly. I could put this in the background and I wouldn’t know when it started and when it finished. Chester sounds restrained and apologetic except on a couple of places and that pisses me off further. The rap is as monotonous as ever. However, there are a couple of tracks that make the cut for me which leads me to…..

Recommended Tracks :- Blackout, Robot Boy, The Catalyst

-Baba T


E – JONAS HELLBORG GROUP – 1991


I’m back after a long break! But due to certain prior commitments, I’ll be taking another break again in a few days for around a month. Terribly sorry for all the (four in number) fans of this blog, but I hope you understand. In the meantime, I’m sure Baba T will ably fill the spot with his fantastic and often very rock n’ roll reviews of err…rock n’ roll records. Anyway, in the meanwhile, I’ll try to fill in a review or two as much as I can, maybe even during my 30 day break.

Unfortunately, this is not the triumphant return for myself that I had envisioned.

The MAIN problem with this album, is the lack of memorable songs

First the good news. As far as Jonas Hellborg‘s records are concerned, this is the most funk and funk rock oriented of his that I’ve heard. And no wonder, his co-musicians are Jens(keyboards) and Anders Johannson(drums) from Stratovarius and Yngwie fame respectively. However, there is no guitar player, that doesn’t detract from the rock itself, though there is not much by way of heaviness. That’s not a problem. The lack of a guitar player not choking up the mix opens out air for the instruments (especially the excellent drums) to breathe.

meh.

There is a fair amount of heaviness going on, despite the lack of guitars, because of Hellborg’s chords and the drumming. Odd how bass chords haven’t caught up. It shows how despite having a non-insanely clipped mix jammed up against the speakers, the heaviness and energy can be translated pretty well.

And what of Jens Johannson? Here is where things start to get wonky. I don’t get any memorable stuff from him in this. Its just him doing a lot of chopsy shit to kingdom come. I wished he had put his mind in it. All the (barely)memorable rhythm work and melodies come from Hellborg. His lead tone, though leaves much to be desired, especially on cuts like “Dog Bar-B-Q”. The slap riff is very memorable, but the lead playing, already left a bit weak by Johannson, is really quite disappointing. Get it together man. This is a problem I’ve noticed before with Hellborg (if you will check my other reviews of his stuff). The rhythm work is mostly scintillating, but it all falls a bit flat by a stomping hippo of a lead tone and approach. When he slaps it though, it’s usually.

The main problem though, the MAIN problem with this album, is the lack of memorable songs. Now, some people will say that this is a ‘sheets of sound’ kind of instrumental album, and that these guys don’t really ‘fall into that category’ of musicians.

Don’t kid yourself.

Better luck next time.

This is obviously an instrumental album of the chopsy kind. But unless you are Miles Davis, I think there is a greater than normal onus upon instrumental album musicians to make their songs interesting. People with much bigger instrumental dicks than these three – Liquid Tension Experiment – have come up with more memorable stuff, even if it was much later than E. Once you get past “Vilnius” and “JB”, you realize the range of sounds on this album is very thin. The one person on this album with a huge range of sounds to play with- Johannson- has chosen not to. Thus, it leaves the album very low on the listenability totem.

And you know, by the time I’ve reached the fifth track, I’ve had enough. I can’t listen to this anymore. This doesn’t sound right, at all.

Sniff.

-El Bajista

More JONAS HELLBORG reviews HERE.

More FUSION record reviews HERE.

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Maktub – MOTHERJANE – 2008


Motherjane specialize in marrying Indian Classical Music motifs to Classic hard rock riffs, which makes them sound quite unique, at least to me. Song structure varies song to song, solos pop up unexpectedly, and intros almost always consist of some piece of sitar or tanpura, before the electric guitar riffs kick in. And all in all, it is a good experience!! No dissonance or abrasiveness present here, no sir. Well, except for some fleeting moments. It’s all melodies and harmonies, and you can play air guitar at the same time!! Now that is a great combination, isn’t it folks? These guys should sound great in a pub with a glass of beer in one hand, with the other hand high in the air.

I suppose that it’s a little remiss of me to finish talking about an album that is supposed to be a landmark in Indian rock history, that quickly, but, hey, the better the things are, the harder it is to talk about them. Gimme a break, man.

Recommended Songs :- Mostly everything, but my like of the moment is Mindstreet.

-Baba T

More Desi Rock Reviews HERE.


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