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Intriguing Concept, Failed Execution - 75%

Erdrickgr, August 4th, 2009

The concept of an album with only bass, drums and vocals, and no electric or acoustic guitars, is an interesting concept, and I believe that it has a lot of potential. However, that potential is not fully realised on this album. The musicianship is present, and the concept is in place, they just didn't execute well enough.

This album is somewhat schizophrenic, like the artists couldn't determine exactly what they were aiming for. There's hard rock, melodic hard rock, metal, and melodic metal here, with dashes of funk, groove, power metal, and hair metal sprinkled in. It's a mish-mash that never really comes together in a coherent whole. I guess that's the trick to making a record: you have to make the songs different enough from each other that they don't run together, but similar enough to each other so nothing feels out of place on the album. It can be a hard balancing act, and unfortunately these guys just didn't pull it off. I have a feeling that one of the problems is that there may have been too many musicians involved with this project (almost two dozen).

I did enjoy a handful of songs, thus the fairly positive score I'm giving this album. I definitely prefer the metal songs to the melodic hard rock songs presented here. Unfortunately, I must admit that half the songs fell in the middle for me, being ok material but nothing too special. But thankfully only two songs on the album were poor: 'The Asshole Song' and 'To Hell and Back Again'

The solos are played well, but are largely forgettable. They at least add some speed and aggression to many songs. But the only one that I like enough to single out is the one by Billy Sheehan on 'Romance in Black'. There's more melody present than some might expect, though that's thanks in part to the vocals on many songs. The interplay between multiple basses is not as apparent on many songs as you'd hope for with a project like this. There is some aggression coming from the bass guitar work here and there on this album, such as in 'Armageddon' and 'Dead From the Eyes Down'. There weren't a lot of riffs worthy of singling out, though the riffs at the beginning and in the middle of 'Godless Gods' are pretty good. The riff on 'The Asshole Song' sounds like the intro riff from Budgie's 'Breadfan'.

The vocalists are generally capable, but not always exactly enjoyable. Or put another way, there's nothing terrible, but there's definitely some merely average performances. The lyrics were often fairly awkward or silly. Here is an example from the otherwise strong song 'Armageddon':

Armageddon--as yet you have no fear
Collision warning will spoil your day my dear
Armageddon--realize the end is near
Act of desperation won't save your ass you queer!

And here's an example from abysmal song 'The Asshole Song':

Asshole, asshole, asshole, it doesn't take one to know one
Asshole, asshole, asshole, well everbody's got one
Asshole, asshole, asshole, it doesn't take one to know one
Asshole, asshole, asshole

In the end, 59:40 is just far too much music for this project. It would have been better had they picked just 'Armageddon' (5:15), 'Godless Gods' (4:36), 'Far Too Late' (4:35), 'Dead From the Eyes Down' (3:17), and 'Razorblade Romance' (4:23) and released the project as an EP. It would have been a twenty-two minute EP that would have hit it out of the park, and left the listener wanting more. I'd recommend this one to people curious about a project that focuses on bass guitars--it's not a bad album, just one that doesn't reach it's potential.