When I first reviewed this German band of Lars Ulrich lookalikes’ (seriously, the band photo in the press pack is uncanny) debut album, I made some remark about how it must be a concept album cuz every song had the word “black” in the title. Well, now they’ve gone and released a proper concept album, I think, or at least one that’s a prog-tastic 80(!) minutes long. Not too sure about the storyline, but The Ballad of Spike Cassidy it is not… y’know, cuz they throw an E in there.
Anyhoo, the album opens on such a quiet note that I’m left asking “is this thing on?” though they eventually erupt into some spaced-out stoner grooves, referencing Hawkwind, Monster Magnet and (insert band that was supposed to play Toronto but didn’t). Hell, there’s even a hint of Iron Maiden that crops up here and there in this opening number.
“Bang Boom War” is perhaps more late 90s Monster Magnet. Actually, it reminds me quite a bit of Prong, a la “Snap Yer Fingers,” with a bit of Collective Soul thrown in. Not to mention that its chorus is totally Udoesque. (If you listen to the lyrics of any U.D.O. album, you’ll know what I mean.) The cold, mechanized chug continues for a couple more tunes, and I’d actually wish they’d go back to aping Dave Brock and Dave Wyndorf. “Temper is Rising” sorta hits the spot with its fuzzy mumbles and the odd heavy riff, but still has a bit too much of that lingering industrial stench.
Man, I’m not sure what happened, but I remembered these guys as a pretty decent heavy-psych outfit. Most of this stuff is about as wimpy as a 90-pound weakling on the beach, and offers very little to groove your head to. Suffice to say, I’m a bit bummed out.