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Dario Mollo and Tony Martin

The Third Cage

Review by Gary Hill

I really wanted to like this album more than I do. Now, that’s not saying I don’t like it; I do. It’s just that at times it tries to work too far into the more pop side of heavy metal. With Tony Martin on board I expected more. Still, his vocals are great and nothing here is really weak. Some of it just seems a bit too interested in being catchy and sacrifices the edginess and real metal in that pursuit.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Wicked World

Metal crunch runs in the background for a short bit, then this powers out into a killer metal grind. The chorus hook is awesome on this number. Overall, this cut is a pretty straight ahead metal stomper that’s got tons of energy and style.

Cirque Du Freak
There’s a cool groove to the riffing on this tune. In some ways it feels a bit like Black Sabbath. It’s not as blatantly high energy as the opener, but it has a ton of cool. The “right now” section, though, has way too much 1980s hair metal in it. This one does get a parental advisory.
Oh My Soul

It’s almost a cliché for metal albums these days to put a ballad in the third slot. This isn’t precisely a ballad, though. Yes, parts of it fit into that heading, but it’s also got some seriously hard rocking sounds. Perhaps comparisons to some of the mixed bag (as in hard rocking and more melodic) tunes on Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell album would be close to the description. The thing is, however you spell it, this is a dramatic and powerful piece that’s very dynamic. It’s the strongest number to this point.

One of the Few
While the opening section here is way too rooted in the whole “pop metal” sound, it shifts to something more substantial quite quickly. I like the bits of guitar that kind of dance around the edges. The vocal performance here is more “rock and roll” and soulful than metal. I guess a comparison to Glenn Hughes wouldn’t be out of the question. Unfortunately that pop metal sound returns later and some of the guitar soloing makes me think of Van Halen’s more pop oriented work.
Still in Love With You
Dramatic sounds with some Middle Eastern modes leads this piece off. It’s a real screamer that has almost a more metal early Rainbow feeling to it. Martin’s vocals here are not that far removed from Dio’s work in that band, too.
Can't Stay Here
This is pretty different. It’s got a more rock and roll texture to it, but still there’s a metal sound to the guitars. The Glenn Hughes comparisons are even more appropriate here. At times this feels a bit like Whitesnake, though, with more metal in the mix.
Wardance
This song also begs the comparisons to Rainbow. It’s got some dramatic sounds and sections and is one of the better cuts here.
Don't Know What It Is About You
That Van Halen reference, along with some Bon Jovi, is quite accurate here. This gets a bit crunchier than that, but is too pop oriented to really stand out in my book.
Blind Fury
This beast rocks out much better than the previous one. It’s got some groove to it, but is all metal. In fact, this is another that calls to mind the later era of Black Sabbath quite a bit.
Violet Moon
Here we have a fairly complex and dynamic power ballad. It’s a good tune, but perhaps a little low key for album closer. Perhaps they looked at it as an epic, but it’s not up to that standard. Still, it’s reasonable effective.
 
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