CoverStory
theBeat
theArts
theReel
RED Herring
 
 
 
theBeat
 
 
RED reviews
 
 

By Luciano Marzulli Vargas and Peter Koelsch

 
 

Assault
Assault
HG fact


With quick, moving riffs on guitars, a steadfast drum beat and vocals that fall between a scream and a yell, hard-core punk quartet Assault opens its new self-titled release on the track "Break Through" with the angst and intensity that many fans of hard core seek.


As the band members are from Japan, the lyrics are, naturally, in Japanese. Luckily, the album came with a sheet of lyrics translated into English that reveals the poetic prowess of the lyricist. While something is always lost in translation, the general idea is there and it is metaphorically critical and observational of the self and others.


The lyrics of "Freedom/Life" are delivered half-and-half in Japanese and English. The heavy guitar parts dominate the fast-paced music with an audibly different baseline on the bridge while the drummer holds time with the classic snare beat accompanied by a continuous ride cymbal.


The epic song on the album, "The End Of Silence," lasts a hefty seven and a half minutes, with a subdued one-minute melodic intro. The song quickly gains intensity as the distortion kicks in. After a series of lyrics and close to five minutes of running time, the guitar solo begins and carries the song almost to its end.


The six-track album lasts a short 22 minutes, but offers a decent dose of Japanese-style hardcore punk. The best description for Assault’s sound is colossal. Negishi (vocals), Kaoru (bass), Kentaro (drums) and Osamu (guitar) are already solidifying their presence in the international punk scene and recently stopped in Salt Lake City as part of a large tour. Inquiries regarding how to purchase the latest release can be directed to hgfact@japan.interq.or.jp or visit www.interq.or.jp/japan/hgfact —LMV


Nueva Musica
The Latin Project
Electric Monkey Records


By combining elements of dance music from Latin America like salsa, samba and merengue with house beats, smooth drum-and-bass style transitions and acid jazz, The Latin Project has created a joyful union that takes the combined genres to the cutting edge of their potential. Masterminds Matt Cooper and Jez Colin (The Solsonics) formed the duo and coordinated the talents of eight other musicians with experience and knowledge of Latin American music to create the unique sounds on Nueva Musica.


The opening song of the album, “Lei Lo Lai,” begins with a syncopated guitar part joined by a bass line and a steady dance beat to follow. As the male vocals in Spanish surface, horn shouts compliment them. Then, the chorus knocks out the listener with sweet electric piano licks and some syncopated conga beats—and within the first minute or so the dance party has begun.


“En Fuego,” The Latin Project single that met great support in 2001 and served as a catalyst for the rest of the album, has a stronger house beat than “Lei Lo Lai” and features female vocals and some synth sounds layered throughout.


This album is a pretty good start for someone interested in electronic dance music, even though there is a lot of stuff happening at the same time. Unlike most electronic dance albums and mixtape-style releases, the songs on this album don't all blend into one another. For the most part, each song is independent of the next. The strength of all the songs is in the careful layering of the musical elements: the beats, bass lines, vocal tracks and instrumental sections are pieced together so well, with such great timing, that the music is very appealing and easy to get into. Most of these elements are introduced slowly throughout the beginning of the song and form a strong groove that carries through to the song’s end.


While songs like “Brazilian Love Affair” and “Windows” start out weak, the additional layers give the songs substance and improve the sound quality.


The acid jazz elements of the music, on behalf of Colin, fit well into the mix of the music and add distinct flavor to the tracks on which they are featured. While the sounds on Nueva Musica are everything but confrontational, Cooper, Colin and the other artists involved in creating this “new music” are challenging other producers of electronic dance music to step up to the plate and play with the big kids. —LMV


 

Motograter
Motograter
No Name World Wide/Elektra


To be a successful band these days, you've got to have something that separates you from everybody else, whether it's musically, lyrically or in your physical appearance. So with stage names like Nuke, Grater, Smur, Ghost and Crispy, the members of the band Motograter have a unique oddity to accompany the body and face paint they use for stage appearances and press shots. Nobody's done that before.


The singer appears in red and white paint while the rest of the band is in uniform black and white paint. Another neat quality, according to the press kit, is that the band plays instruments built by the band’s founder, Grater. So with all that uniqueness to set them apart from the rest of the bands out there, the Motograter men didn’t bother to create a self-titled debut that doesn’t sound just like every other crappy, radio friendly nü-metal band to hit the scene. The sound combines heavy guitars, predictable changes and vocal parts that combine singing with yelling. If the guitar parts and oxy-moronically clean distortion levels weren't already predictable enough, the soft melodic interludes in most songs break any intensity that the track might have had.


The lyrics on "Prophecies," “Mutiny” and “Fight” are the most straightforward, socially conscious and provocative, but still don't quite make the cut. It would be interesting to see if these guys reach Backstreet Boys fame for a while, just to see if they show up to all the red carpet events in the paint and do fake "tribal" stuff in public. Because according to Grater, they are “warriors.”


Since they suck, that probably won't happen.


They are on the 2003 Ozzfest line-up, so look out world. If you go to Ozzfest and agree with my criticisms, don't blame Ozzy—from my understanding, Jack and Sharon choose the bands for the metal festival. Instead of wasting your time listening to this regurgitated garble, just turn the radio dial to some crappy metal station and listen to what's being produced these days. If you're lucky, they might play something good like Deftones or Korn, sounds that everybody has been trying to duplicate but just can't quite figure out the formula. —LMV

 

 

Far From Home
Millencolin
Burning Heart/Epitaph Records


The newest album from the four-man veteran punk/indie/rock/emo/punk again group holds solid for anyone who enjoys any of the previously mentioned genres. This album, however, seems to be about their personal joy of performing, rather than record sales.

As it is with many bands, it is necessary to absorb and change styles to remain viable. This band has most certainly done that.

But this most recent album has dropped their previous tension and shows a fearless vigor that can only come from mutual respect and enjoyment of making music together.

This is one of Millencolin's best albums to date. —PK