Every now and then when I’m listening to an album by an artist I’m unfamiliar with I’ll jot down some quickie thoughts just to remind myself what I thought of it, since the name recognition often isn’t going to help by itself. I figured I’d throw ’em up here a few at a time under the “Kneejerk Review” heading.
DETROIT VOODOO – RISE OF THE MEDICINE MAN
Released: March 1, 2013 by Voodoo Electric Music
The album cover kind of gives away their love of all things Rob Zombie, so it should come as no surprise when I tell you that Detroit Voodoo deliver a heavy dose of groove metal complete with electronic splashes and lots of movie soundbites. The production isn’t quite as oversaturated as King Rob, allowing the songs to stand on their own a little more, which I like. At times they also conjur up the more mainstream sound of Drowning Pool (“Get Back” might as well be called “Bodies Part 2”) without getting quite as thin. The problem is that my taste for this style drifts in and out and I’m not really sure I have room on that paricular life raft for a new band, although to its credit Rise Of The Medicine Man makes a play for more airtime. They haven’t reinvented the wheel here and they’re not exactly begging for wide acceptance to begin with, but there’s something to be said for playing what you like and playing it well.
ALBUM RATING: 5.
BENEDICTUM – OBEY
Released: December 3, 2013 by Frontiers Records
File among the glut of melodic metal bands to come out of Europe these days, Benedictum occupying the space between 80’s Judas Priest and Queensryche only with a female vocalist. Some nice guitar work and everything is competent, but I’m hard pressed to find anything about the album that makes me want to give it another listen. Like so much music, good, yet unremarkable.
ALBUM RATING: 4.
DIAMOND PLATE – PULSE
Released: August 20, 2013 by Earache Records
“Walking Backwards” opens things with a sound that is very reminiscent of Metallica’s …And Justice For All, although not as dense or clever. They get a little more experimental with sounds later on, hinting at King’s X briefly before moving back over into 80’s thrash once again. Then out of nowhere comes a track like “Rainmaker” with it’s trippy Doors-like vibe. This album goes a lot of places without every veering too far off the main road they’re driving, which may be why I have trouble giving it a proper grade. It strikes me as one of those metal albums that will at times make me think, “this is brilliant, I should listen more often” and at others have me thinking, “why is this in my collection again?”. So it stays around for now, waiting for that definitive listen that never comes.
ALBUM RATING: 4.