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Terrible Choice - 64%

OzzyApu, October 28th, 2009

No surprises when I say that I love The Headless Children, but I’m not hiding anything either when I said I hated “Mean Man.” Of all the tracks on the album, not only is this one the worst, but its quite an embarrassment. Sure, it’s got that attitude and flare that’ll fit anywhere on the first two albums, but its just so dull and boring at the same time that its not even worth the trouble. Its supposed to be a catchy ode (negative or positive is up to you) to Chris Holmes for being a badass, but the song is stuck with a fractionally decent riff and a lame ass solo. The song has pretty good inspiration and a ballsy attitude, but it doesn’t fit so well on the full-length, especially after following the combination of “The Headless Children” and “Thunderhead.”

Production quality remains the same for all of the tracks on here, so the same thundering bass and chaotic drum tone carry over. Blackie’s sings the song more than he groans and wails, but even his signature snarl can’t save the song. What I loved about The Headless Children most was how thick the drums were: they’re like meteors crashing against the Earth with a bellowing echo rising into the stratosphere. The cymbals are more up-close, but the double bass and snare / tom combos are cavernous.

The Jethro Tull cover puts that flute-playing fluke’s original to shame, as it kicks off with galloping double bass and a nasty riff rendition of the main melody. Blackie’s voice is almost possessed sounding – he’s attempting to sound sweet, but it’s like he’s talking / speaking loudly more than he’s singing. Kind of awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it before the song is over.

“For Whom The Bell Tolls” is an early version of “The Gypsy Meets The Boy,” and I can’t tell which one I like over the other. This version is full-on electric that fits very well with the dark, fearful atmosphere of The Headless Children and holds the same production style. As high and mighty as the solo may be, its really Blackie’s malevolent riff brooding along that’ll send chills up your spine. His voice is especially grave and assertive while the drumming is stuck doing loops or something. If it came down to it, I guess I’d take the one on The Crimson Idol over this, but only because it’s more developed.

If anything, they should have replaced “Mean Man” with any other song from the album. Too bad most of the population is too ignorant to comprehend anything that has more depth than dirt. The other two tracks hold this one up from getting the boot, but “Mean Man” was a bad call to begin with.