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Extremely Underrated Masterpieces! - 92%

frenchie, June 5th, 2006

The Fucking Champs are very underground in the metal scene, and a complete bunch of maniacs. They rarely tour, and when they do they usually play to indie rock crowds. They play very small venues and travel in a packed out dirty white van. The Fucking Champs consists of three musicians who have much artistic freedom. Two lead guitarists, one using a custom made 9 string guitar. And a drummer, who sounds rather indie at times, but it does work well with their metal tunes. And yes, thats right, there is no bassist!

Sometimes the Champs use synthesisers, but not to add cheese to a song, they are used in a more 70's progressive rock way, as tracks such as "Dale Bozzio", "Policenauts" and "Lamplighter" display. The champs play metal that is mostly instrumental, oddly structured and its the unpredicatablility of the band which adds to their appeals. These guys should be more recognised as they are doing things in metal that i have rarely heard other bands do. At times their raw sound can sound a bit like Neo Classical metal, but once you get to the bones of the band they also have moments of Jazz/Tech metal and possibly even avante garde. They could even be described as a metal Mogwai at times.

"Greatest Hits" is a completely ironic title to this collection, I can assure you that they haven't had a hit as they have pretty much left themselves in obscurity, not always being active as a band. They are certainly something different in metal, as tracks like "Lee Tom", "Dale Bozzio" and "Hats Off to Music". Sometimes they seem like they are actually taking the piss out of metal, some of their song titles sound nothing like the music on them and are often purposely trying to be unmetal, such as "Extra Man", or the ode to classical piece, "Air on a G String". Sometimes they seem to be stereotyping metal, such as "Thor is Like Immortal", a stunning track on this collection which has so much depth, even if there aren't any drums or bass.

It may take time to really understand the Champs. Sometimes it's not always clear whether they are trying to embrace metal and continue to make it original, or if they are trying to attack metal and make fun of it. Either way this album contains many stunning pieces of metal and this record has changed the way i percieve metal! It opens up new ways of approaching the genre and is completely unafraid of trying out new things.

The standout tracks on this album are "Dale Bozzio" for its complete changes of mood out of nowhere, going from happy sounding riffs, to really dark chord progressions and back and forth. "Extra Man" is a riffed based rocker that sounds like something Deep Purple may write, but then it jars out into a complex, offbeat dark display of chaos. "Lee Tom" is a classic instrumental that plays around with odd time signatures. "Thor is Like Immortal" and "Air on a G String" are beautiful odes to neo-classical metal, whilst "Flawless Victory" sounds like Pink Floyd mixed with Atheist if that's possible! Check this collection out as it is a great starting place and some of the most original metal out there!