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Spiders & Snakes

Year of the Snake

Review by Gary Hill

A lot of times we put things featuring progressive rock artists under prog, even when they don’t fit that banner based on the music. In this case, I can’t really do that. Yes, Ryo Okumoto of Spock’s Beard plays on one song here. So does Billy Sherwood. Overall, though, this is more metal than it is anything else. It’s definitely more of an AOR pop metal, but it’s metal. It’s also quite strong, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Don't Step Outta Line

Drums lead out, and then they launch into a raunch and roll kind of jam. The vocal hooks are more pop rock oriented than that. This makes me think of Alice Cooper a bit in some ways. It’s got a real 1980s hair metal vibe, too. Still, the bits of horn sound (guest Angelo Moore’s saxophone), and the whole arrangement is more modern than that. There is a punky edge here, too.

Too Angry
Sure, there is a hair metal vibe here, but the saxophone (another guest appearance by Angelo Moore) blowing brings something else. It’s even more punk than the previous tune was.
Kawasaki City
The keyboards on this track are provided by Spock’s Beards Ryo Okumoto. This isn’t a prog tune, though. Instead, it’s a full on 1980s styled metal stomper. It’s catchy and one of the highlights of the set.
Neutron Baby
Metal, punk, Goth and more merge on this smoking hot rocker. Again, it makes me think of both 1980s metal and Alice Cooper a little bit. The progression has a real old school rock and roll meets Motley Crue kind of vibe.
Driving Me Crazy
The energy on the start of this is in keeping with Motorhead. The song proper, though, makes me think of DOA quite a bit. It’s part metal, part punk and all cool.
Hey You
Old time rock and roll, punk and metal are all combined here. This is a catchy romp that’s not all that far removed from something Sweet might have done.
This is much more of a straight pop rocker, but it still lines up close enough with 80s pop metal to land it in the metal category.
Another raunch and roller, this has a lot of punk and pop music built into it.
Ain't Gonna Eat out My Heart Anymore

People of a certain generation think of this as an Angel song. The truth is, it was originally by The Young Rascals. This version reminds me a bit of a punky Kiss. Rik Fox (bass) and Betsy Weiss (duet vocal) guest here.

Over and Over
I wouldn’t consider this one to be a metal tune at all. It’s more of a psychedelic rocker. It’s fun and a nice change of pace. Guest musician Gavin Ross provides a guitar solo on the tune.
The Digital Church
Billy Sherwood guests here on keys (and backing vocals). This one is another that doesn’t land under metal. I’d consider it a more modern sounding interpretation of psychedelic rock. It’s a tasty number. In fact, it’s one of my favorites here.
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