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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Reviews: Monte Pittman, 40 Watt Sun, Glitter Wizard, Dee Snider (Reviews By Paul)

Monte Pittman: Inverted Grasp Of Balance (Metal Blade)

I’m not sure if being the guitarist in Madonna’s touring band since 2001 is a fantastic status to hold but this is the title that sits with Monte Pittman. For those who are unfamiliar with him, he also played guitar and some bass in Prong from 2000 – 2008. Inverted Grasp Of Balance is his third solo album and follows 2014’s The Power Of Three. It’s a competently performed album, crammed with shredding guitar licks and some very heavy riffs. It also features Billy Sheehan on bass and Richard Christy (Charred Walls of the Damned, Iced Earth, Death) on drums. Unfortunately, some of the tracks on the album are dreadful, Guilty Pleasure being the prime example of something that Anvil would reject. By the middle of the album I was struggling to maintain interest and by the end I was totally disinterested. I’m afraid it’s a no from me. 5/10

40 Watt Sun: Wider Than The Sky (Radiance Records)

London three piece 40 Watt Sun’s follow up to 2011’s The Inside Room is a somber affair. With a focus on introspection and relationships, layered pieces full of atmosphere wash over the listener. For a three piece, 40 Watt Sun create a complex sound, with Patrick Walker’s vocals mournful yet very apt. In places dynamic, in others light, orchestrated instrumentation abounds with a hard rock edge, the band are not what you’d expect from an outfit labelled with the doom tag. My one criticism is that the songs all blend into one which may be the point when some of your tracks are 16 minutes long. 6/10

Glitter Wizard: Hollow Earth Tour (Heavy Psych Sounds)

Yeah, another crazy psychedelic stoner outfit immersed in 1970 is just what we need was my first thought when I saw this. Turns out we might just need Glitter Wizard for a little while. Hollow Earth Tour is one massive slab of fast paced punk infused psychedelia which certainly warms you up on a cold day. Opener Smokey God gets things moving but it’s the Hammond keys of Doug Graves which layer and underpin Lorfin Terrafor’s rampaging guitar on The Hunter where things get good. A huge shift in time and direction half way through keeps your attention whilst the 70s sound is both retro and fresh. The seven minute Scales maintains the pace with seismic sound changes, manic vocals and the cacophony of noise powering the whole thing forward. One-and-a-half-minute Stoned Odyssey segues perfectly into the riff heavy Fungal Visions with Fancee Cymbals drumming and Wendy Stonehenge’s trippy vocals drawing you into the sounds and visions of early Sabbath, Blue Cheer and Hawkwind. It’s wild and 70s soaked, but it’s also solid and good fun. Well worth taking the trip to the centre of your mind.  7/10

Dee Snider: We Are The Ones (earMusic)

"Most of my heavy metal fans are going to hate it". So said Dee Snider in late Summer 2016 and he’s nailed it. The frontman of one of the most astonishing live bands has delivered a steaming turd of an album that I fucking hate. Never mind the crawlingly poor acoustic We’re Not Going to Take It (Yes, it was for a cancer charity but that isn’t an excuse for the appalling video that accompanies this) or the pointless cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Head Like A Hole. There is only one track on this album and that is Close To You. Now I’m hoping against hope that this is a song written to highlight the problem of men stalking women and all the connotations that accompany such unacceptable behaviour. If it isn’t, it is one of the most disturbing and uncomfortable songs I’ve ever heard. I felt sick after listening to it. In fact, I’m basing my mark on this track alone. You were right Dee, I really do hate it. 3/10

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