Blog exclusive reviews
U.D.O = Accept (duh!) + AC/DC + Krokus + Metal Church
Rev Raptor is pretty well mined territory. Having released thirteen albums, former Accept vocalist, Udo Dirckschneider has found a winning formula, unleashing his scratchy pterodactyl squawk to mow down the frontline, while the band works hurriedly in the background, and uses it to full capacity. It’s an excellent fit, and though the album is definitely not an industrial record (Regardless of Germany’s longstanding tradition for producing terrible techno and the equally bad Rammstein), the backing band works with a metronomic exactness that’s as mechanic sounding as it is ferocious.
The title track, with its mournful atmospherics and gravelly snarling, is U.D.O. at its best, while “Renegade” (a rager, slightly reminiscent of Grave Digger) and “Terrorvision” (which boasts the lyric “cyber-kinetic fuck machines”) drip with a steaming dollop of teutonic thrash terror requisite for an album with such infamous German metal lineage.
Unfortunately (though not at all surprising), Rev Raptor has its share of cornball moments, which hurt the album as a whole. The ridiculous “I Give as Good as I Get” is a painful power-ballad that will have listeners racing for whatever “skip” button their stereo device affords, and “Leatherhead,” though infused with plenty of good rock n’ roll swagger, contains clumsy lyrics that are nothing short of shudder inducing (“you think you’re a tough guy?/well I’m from the street” and “I’ll kick out your daylights, it’s gonna be fun” come to mind). Couple that with the dopey artwork, (think of clownish concept stickers for a rejected NES game) and the album comes out feeling a little bit…goofy.
Yet, despite its buffoonery, U.D.O. does showcase excellent musicianship. The guitar interplay on “Underworld” is commendable, “True Born Winners” rides a solid good groove throughout and guitar geeks hunting for whiplash-inducing solos will find them throughout.
Perhaps a touch lopsided, and soaked in a tad too much cheese, it’s an album with its moments, and it fails to tarnish the storied Dirkschneider legacy, power ballad or not…but in a painful Dave Mustaine/Metallica twist of irony (and staid heavy metal journalism) Accept’s Udo-less Blood of Nations (2010) was much better. –Dylan Chadwick
Seven Sisters of Sleep
Seven Sisters of Sleep = Bongzilla + Weedeater + The Atlas Moth
Rooted in a weird subgenre that predicates itself on the aching principle of moving with the swiftness of drizzling tar on a January morning, Seven Sisters of Sleep’s debut full length plays out like an aesthetic struggle.
There’s no question, the band takes many cues from the nascent sludge of ubiquitous forbearers like Eyehategod, and they showcase their own brand of painful, crawling gutter slime on cuts like “Beirut” and “CCEC.” However, these moments of obstinate, walking-through-the-swimming-pool rigidity are frequently broken up when the band explodes into a frenetic hustle and, as if possessed by a nerve-ridden hardcore spirit, begins charging forward at a staggering clip. The impossibly infectious swamp grooving of “Passed Out Standing,” the bullet timed double bass attack of “Tide is Rising” (which, if ya listen real hard, actually sounds a bit like a Merauder throwaway) and the dissonant heavy hitting of “Christmas Morning” (which lends itself to plenty of ‘90s hardcore comparisons, particularly Unbroken) all race forward at an uncompromising gallop, coalescing into each other to create an ungodly mass that’s mean and ugly, and it blows over you before you can even respond. Top the high-speed hazing with that indecipherably grating “locked-a-closet” vocal yowling, and you’re left with something powerful…if not just a bit unsettling.
Ultimately, it’s a well done record. Nothing particularly new, but it employs the time honored tricks that make sludge records so great (like frequent tempo changes) and clocking in at just around twenty minutes or so, it’s plenty short and sweet…so to speak. –Dylan Chadwick